What Happened to the Slimmed-Down Bill?

On Monday, Nancy Pelosi said that President Obama was about to unveil a new health care plan that would be much less ambitious than the House version:

President Obama will soon propose a health care bill that will be “much smaller” than the House bill but “big enough” to put the country on a “path” toward health care reform, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday.
“In a matter of days, we will have a proposal,” Pelosi said, pointing to Obama’s forthcoming bill.
“It will be a much smaller proposal than we had in the House bill because that’s where we can gain consensus. But it will be big enough to put us on a path of affordable, quality health care for all Americans that holds insurance companies accountable.” …
Melody Barnes, a top Obama domestic policy adviser, did not dispute Pelosi’s characterization of the new plan as smaller in scope — and quite possibly in cost — than either the House or Senate health care bills.

So, what happened? Obama came out with no new plan today. He made a speech, and it was one of the most hyper-partisan of his administration. There was no suggestion of any new, smaller proposal.
I’m not sure how the Dems got their signals crossed, but I’m glad Pelosi’s prediction was wrong. It would have been smart for the Dems to scale back their ambitions, adopt a more incremental approach and incorporate a few token Republican ideas. If Americans saw that there really was a new plan, they might be willing to view it with an open mind; absent a new plan, pretty much everyone’s mind is made up. And a scaled-back, less expensive plan might have even attracted some Republican votes. But it didn’t happen; in my view, that’s a good thing–even if the Dems changed their minds because they are now convinced that they have the votes to ram government medicine down our throats.

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