Friday, August 14, 2009

What's Going to Happen with the "Death Panels"

Everyone is in despair for our democracy, because the Senate Finance Committee bill will apparently not contain the provision that Palin et al. turned into "death panels."

Well, everyone: get over it. Assuming the news coverage is basically correct, and the real proposal is in fact non-controversial, then here's what's going to happen. They're going to avoid taking votes on this thing while the crazy is going on. Then, later in the game, perhaps in conference, they'll stick it back in. They'll do it quietly, and they'll be prepared with a story about how the new language prevents the stuff that, of course, was never in the old language to begin with. Worst case: they leave the damn thing out of the bill, and then go back next year and either pass it as a stand-alone or stick it in some other bill.

If it's true that no one actually opposes this (and apparently even the Sage of Wasilla doesn't really oppose it), then it'll eventually be law, most likely this year. It isn't a breakdown of democracy or a sign that health care reform is dead; it's just a tactical retreat on what everyone agrees is a very minor issue. It's sideshow, not the main event.

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