Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Challenging the "This Bill or Nothing" False Choice

C & L's RJEskrow takes on the idea that our only two choices are kill this bill or pass this bill:

There's a basic structural flaw in the Klein/Cohn/Krugman position [pass it, fix it later], too:  that it's either this health bill or nothing.  I believe that's a false choice.  Opponents of the Senate draft don't all believe that no reform is better than this bill.  But they should act as if they do.  Once you say the Senate bill is good enough, the negotiations with the left are over. 

The Senate health bill has been improved in some areas, including strengthening the Medicare cost containment commission and - most critically - once again lifting lifetime caps on coverage.  Like McJoan, I believe that's a direct result of the outcry on the left.  Fear of a progressive backlash has already improved this bill, and it may continue to do so - if we don't back down too soon.  In a very practical sense the Deans, Hamshers, and Taibbis are accomplishing more than any other progressives to get a better bill.

There are many people who disagree vehemently with that statement.  By all means, let's keep talking about it.  But let's do so openly, with all the information at our disposal, and without either hostility or manipulation.  I'm not out to antagonize anyone here.  I'd really like to see debate that's based on data and grounded in strategy - and not in false choices.

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