cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
I have written several times about the opinions of Robert Laszewski who publishes a blog called Health Care Policy and Marketplace. He has just issued his opinion that the Medicare buy-In proposed by Sen. Reid as the tool to get around the promise of a "public option" is dead. That is a strong commentary from a knowledgeable and well-connected insider.
Presuming that Laszewski is correct, this places Reid in a tenuous position. Beyond that, it places the far-left members of his caucus in the "hot seat". These are the people who have forsworn ever voting for anything that doesn't have a "public option". The idea of a Medicare buy-in was, for some of the far-left at least, a place where they could hide from constituents after having caved in and voted for something that wasn't a real "public option".
Now, instead of the spotlight focusing almost exclusively on the so-called moderates, it shifts to the far left and those who have been in "full voice" for months calling for a real "public option". Among them is the Democrat who publicly lauded the fact yesterday that they don't just have the camel's nose under the tent flap anymore as he celebrated what he thought was the breakthrough he and others had been seeking; the Trojan Horse that would result in the government take-over of all health care delivery and financing mechanisms.
If Laszewski is correct in his summation that the Medicare buy-in proposal is a 'dead provision walking', then the Reid-Pelosi conglomerate has some issues that it may not be able to finesse much further. The far-left has preached from the beginning that it will not vote yes on a health care reform package that doesn't have a "public option"; there have been no equivocating statements coming to set the stage for a fall-back position. And the constituents of those on that far-left are a tough and unforgiving bunch. Pelosi gets re-elected in her San Francisco district because she is a true liberal who believes that government should control everything. Reid is facing the toughest re-election fight he has ever faced.
The failure of the Medicare buy-in effort could literally derail health care reform and cause the forces that believe in it to regroup and come at it again sometime in the future. At most, it could result in the passage of some modest reforms to give everyone a face-saving bill to be signed by President Obama. This is, after all, one of the signature pieces about which he ran.
Frankly, given where this debate has gone, the best thing that could happen for our country and the majority that no longer favor this flavor of "reform" is that the reform effort be reduced to passage of some modest changes.
Time will tell.