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Ben Nelson Eyes Health Reform Delay

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Ben Nelson Eyes Health Reform Delay"

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Ryan Grim reports that Ben Nelson (D-NE) is working with “a few centrist Democrats and several Republicans” on a plan to make comprehensive health reform less likely by pushing the Senate leadership to delay action on health care until after the August recess. That’s very nice for vacation-hungry Senators, since the fact of the matter is that it will be quite difficult to get a bill done by the time recess is scheduled to start, so a push for an August vote could lead to members of the Senate (shudder) needing to stay in town and work on a problem of national importance even when the weather is really nasty.

When thinking about this sort of thing, it’s also useful to recall the Families USA health reform ticker:

A delay of, say, seventy days is the amount of time it takes for as many people as live in Omaha to lose their health insurance. And one doubts that if the whole city were facing that fate Nelson would be so cavalier about the consequences of delay. More generally, this is an issue America has been debating for decades, it’s not as if Barack Obama just inserted health reform into his budget as a big surprise. Even just limiting consideration to the current reform drive in the United States Senate, Max Baucus and Ted Kennedy (and then Chris Dodd when Kennedy fell ill) have been doing steady work on this issue since well before the 2008 presidential election. And the topic of health reform was extensively debating in both the presidential primaries and the general election. For anyone who’s interested, there’s been plenty of time to look at the questions.

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