Friday, July 31, 2009

Health Care Bracketology

At this point I'm having a lot of trouble understanding how the various players in the health care negotiations regard the deals they're making -- for example, the Gang of Six deal in Senate Finance, and the Waxman-Blue Dog deal in House Energy and Commerce that was subsequently renegotiated with progressives.

All these agreements are subject to multiple stages of future modification and renegotiation. People are just trying to get bills out of the last committees right now, and they'll have to be blended with bills from other committees of their chambers before they pass the House and Senate. And then there'll be amendments on the floor. And then, after things pass both chambers, there'll be conference committee the House and Senate bills are reconciled. That's when Obama plans to make his big play and push the legislation in the direction he wants. There's a huge question of whom the negotiators in conference will be. The bill that emerges from conference will end up being the final product.

So if you're a Progressive renegotiating deals with the Blue Dogs, or Mike Enzi making a deal with Max Baucus, what do you expect to come of it? Do you have any confidence that anything you've agreed to will be in the final product? Are you just hoping to push the final bill a smidgen in the direction you prefer? To politically position yourself in some way or other? To make yourself seem like more of a significant legislative player who can't be left out of future reindeer games? I'm sure it's some mix of this stuff, but I have very little sense what the proportions are.
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