Health Reform: It's 1994 All Over Again

Parallels to last time comprehensive legislation died are stark
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2010 12:06 PM CST
President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Even a cursory look at Democrats’ activity on health care reform brings back clear memories of their 1994 failure to pass comprehensive legislation. For instance, write Carrie Budoff Brown and Chris Frates, “the same people who spent months arguing that reform had to be jammed through quickly” are now in “slow-walk mode,” focusing on midterm elections—just like 16 years ago. “There’s no such thing as ‘Let’s take a pause in legislating so that we can gain momentum,’” cautions a veteran of 1994.

“It’s insulting,” continues the former Dem staffer,” and the party is in “full bluff mode.” Of course, Brown and Frates write on Politico, there are paths forward on reform, and “most Democrats have already voted for the bill, making them more invested in finishing the job.” That’s all well and good, but take the most likely route, reconciliation. Republican senators would be able to propose unlimited amendments—just like 1994, when “health reform died of a thousand cuts.”

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