Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Young Ezra Klein is Youthfully Optimistic because Ron Wyden's health care reform bill has " has 11 Senate cosponsors, including six Republicans." If the Democrats are disciplined it needs only 3 more to get over 60. He says this is exactly what didn't happen in 1993.


I have now lexis/nexised for the first time and I find that my memories of 1993 were not quite precise, but my main recollection -- never make a senator wait -- holds up.

The state of play on June 28 1993 was

MOST LIKELY ALTERNATIVE: Chafee "gave the most detailed
outline to date" 6/25 on what is likely to be the GOP's "most
prominent legislative counter-proposal to Clinton's plan," WASH.
POST reports. The bill, which is being developed by 23 senators
including Sen. Min. Ldr. Bob Dole (R-KS), "is similar to one
favored by conservative Democrats and includes many elements of
President Clinton's plan." Common features include: purchasing
pools; a standard benefits package; information to help people
choose a health plan; and a prohibition against denying coverage
because of health condition, sex or occupation. But the Chafee
plan "parts company" with the admin. over the gov't role "in
guaranteeing universal coverage and controlling health care
costs." It doesn't include an employer mandate and gov't
subsidies would be provided only "as savings from initial reform
are realized."


President Clinton's fuzzy timing for unveiling health reforms leaves Republicans waiting for a casting call in Washington's next big drama.

Sen. John Chafee, R-R.I., scrapped plans to announce a comprehensive health reform proposal drafted by moderate Republican senators when Clinton backed away from a firm announcement date.


Like Clinton, many moderate GOP senators favor sweeping overhaul of the health-care system.

"That's the thing Bob Dole really cares about. Bob Packwood cares about. John Chafee, Dave Durenberger, along with Sen. (Jay) Rockefeller, Sen. (Don) Riegle on our side," says Senate Finance Committee Chairman Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

But moderate Republicans worry that to get too far ahead of the White House is to become a political decoy, drawing criticism away from Clinton.

Chafee's office says he's drafting a bill that would include a minimum benefits package, require insurers to cover everyone, reform malpractice laws and subsidize coverage for the poor. Chafee has ruled out payroll taxes but not other levies.

Because GOP senators have 44 votes and ideological kinship with some conservative Democrats wary of Clinton's tax-and-regulate approach, Republicans may be in a position to stamp their ideas onto any health reforms that pass the Senate.


While waiting, those in Chafee's group are trying to coax a majority of their Republican colleagues into joining them. But Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas and a handful of other conservatives say any proposal they support must include a tax-deductible medical savings account - like an individual retirement account - and require individuals to buy their own insurance.

There was a filibuster proof majority for fundamental health care reform in June 1993.

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