The end game for health care reform may finally have arrived. Some in Congress are suggesting that a decision should be made by the Easter break, which begins on March 26. Time is running short.
If we learned anything from last week’s health care summit, it is that the final end game negotiations will not take place between Democrats and Republicans but among various factions of Democrats.
Republicans now sense big gains coming in the November elections and thus have no motivation to move in Obama’s direction. Any attempt to draw them into a negotiation –- including the “start from scratch” option Republicans themselves are pushing -- will likely fail.
Democrats are split, with some fearing for their jobs if they support an unpopular bill while others believe that passing even a flawed bill will leave them better off in November.
One casualty of the situation may be cost containment. Democrats are mostly united around coverage expansion. That’s the easy part. Their biggest difference is on the more difficult question of aggressive cost containment. The two most promising cost-containment strategies still on the table are the tax on high-cost health care plans and the...