The chances of sweeping healthcare reform have dropped dramatically over the past month or so. (I still think the president will have something to sign by year end.) Mark Halperin of The Page gives his reasons why healthcare reform still has a good chance of happening, though what “healthcare reform” means is left undefined — and that is kinda important:
1. Reid, Pelosi, and the applicable committee chairs all are still on board (no one has taken their marbles and left, in part because the White House congressional affairs office has a great ear and many eyes).
2. Senators Grassley and Snowe haven’t given up.
3. Rahm Emanuel knows what’s possible.
4. If he can get a bill to conference committee, the press will start implicitly cheering more for success, and stop obsessing over every setback.
5. The health care industry and business community are still largely supportive.
6. Labor unions are likely to give in (maybe) at one or two critical moments.
7. Obama is not rattled.
And this article from The Hill makes some counterpoints:
If Democrats in the lower chamber do not pass a healthcare reform bill before the recess, it would be seen as a major step backward from the legislative timetable President Obama initially outlined. As recently as last week, leading Democrats were predicting they would pass bills through the House and Senate before adjourning for the summer. … In another blow to the Democrats’ healthcare reform efforts, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday launched an advertising campaign targeting a key aspect of Obama’s healthcare plan — a government-run “public option.” Another powerful industry group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, stated on Tuesday that a “government-run plan is a roadblock to reform.” … Hoyer on Tuesday confirmed that opposition was not limited to the Blue Dogs. … “It’s the spending and the cost. The [Congressional Budget Office score] last week was really a hit across the bow,” said Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), a Blue Dog leader and member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. … Some members want to wait to see what the more conservative Senate will do so that members don’t have to make tough votes on issues, like raising taxes, that are difficult to get through the upper chamber. Complicating the healthcare reform effort is the fact that the Senate Finance Committee still hasn’t released its bill or indicated how it will be offset.