Sometimes a Bad Bill Is Good Enough

Reformers must see Baucus' effort as starting point: Krugman
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2009 10:26 AM CDT
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. takes part in a news conference Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Progressives will soon face their "long-dreaded moment of truth" on health care reform, Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times. Any bill that emerges is bound to disappoint, and "the question is where to draw the line," he explains. "How bad does a bill have to be to make it too bad to vote for?" The Baucus bill is the tipping point: It's flawed but better than expected. If negotiations weaken it, progressives "should and will walk away." 

If however, talks actually fix some of the bill's flaws—its version of the employer mandate is a "terrible idea," for example, and it fails to create true competition in the insurance market—then things get trickier. The legislation still won't be a reformers' dream. But lawmakers will have to figure out for themselves whether it meets the "threshold of acceptability."