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Health-care strategies: Whatever it takes

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Rick Horowitz
November 11, 2009
House approves health-care reform, but with new abortion restrictions.
Ripped from the headlines
(Meanwhile, in a slightly altered universe...)

Dear Congressional Peeps --


Congrats on the health-care thing! Sorry you had to spend your whole Saturday night in session -- a total drag! -- but when history calls, history calls, right? Definitely worth giving up one Date Night to get everybody one giant step closer to the finish line. Now it's on to the Senate and even more history!


A pity about that slavery clause, but hey -- we're all grownups here, and compromise is the name of the game. Absolutely no way you get the votes you need without a little tweaking on indentured servitude. Totally worth it.


It's not even that big a change, when you come right down to it. Actually pretty consistent with where we've been for years: certain folks get the short end of the stick. All the amendment does is spell it out a little. They'll get over it. (They'll have to.) Most of the rest of us won't even notice it.


Anyway, you got to 218 -- that's the important thing.


Always some bumps in the road when you're trying to do something this big -- it goes with the territory. People have to decide what really matters, and what they're willing to give up to get it. The folks pushing the slavery clause let everybody know it really mattered to them, and that they were willing to give up the rest of the bill to get it.


Hard to out-bargain someone who's prepared to take a walk and let the whole thing go down in flames -- especially when you can't go anywhere else for the votes you need. The Repubs weren't going to help -- everybody knew that going in -- so the servitude caucus held all the cards. Amazing what you can accomplish when you've got some leverage.


The anti-slavery side's been pushing for this bill forever -- no way they'd take a walk, and everybody knew it. All of a sudden they're supposed to be the reasonable ones -- stay at the table no matter what.

Doesn't matter what the provision is -- it's just one provision, and they're going for the whole enchilada. If it means tossing a few pals overboard to stay afloat -- hey, that's show biz.


They might be able to get rid of it in the Senate. Or they might not. The magic number over there is 60, and they're as hard up for the votes to make 60 as you guys were for 218. Puts the same kind of people right back in the driver's seat, right? "You want my vote? Here's my price."


So you'll probably get a little slavery in the Senate bill too -- figure it's the cost of doing business. The grease that keeps the wheels turning.


Anyway, it just goes to show that politics ain't beanbag. And a year or two from now? Nobody even remembers the details.


OK, maybe the slaves.



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