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Time-out on health care reform

With no clear path forward on major health care legislation, Democratic leaders in Congress effectively slammed the brakes on President Obama’s top domestic priority on Tuesday, saying they no longer felt pressure to move quickly on a health bill after eight months of setting deadlines and missing them.

So reports the New York Times today. The Times quotes Majority Leader Reid as saying: “We’re not on health care now; we’ve talked a lot about it in the past.”
Truer words have rarely been spoken, at least by Harry Reid.
Reid went on to say that there is “no rush” and that he and Speaker Pelosi are working to map out a way to complete a health care overhaul in coming months. Their problem, of course, is that with an election in November and much campaigning to be done, the Dems don’t have a great deal of time. Moreover, even with unlimited time, it would be quite difficult to ram through the present incarnations of health care reform or some close variation thereof. If it were otherwise, the Democrats probably would not be calling time-out.
If they are willing to work with centrists and center-left Republicans, the Dems might be able to put together a viable, but significantly pared-down reform package. Such a measure might face problems in the liberal House, though. The proposal would probably need to poll well in order to have a good chance of passing in this election year.

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