E. J. Dionne has an interesting piece on how the dynamics of the Senate may doom health care reform:
I’m told that Grassley, under immense pressure from Republican colleagues not to deal at all, has informed Baucus that he cannot sign on to a bill if it is supported by only one other Republican, the sensible Olympia Snowe of Maine. Grassley needs more cover from more conservative colleagues.
This creates a terrible dynamic in which Baucus is pushed toward one concession after another. It’s a setup for a sellout. And the compromise Baucus is likely to produce cannot be the final word.
This makes it sound like Democrats only need one more vote to get a bill through. Here’s my question: how would the seating of Franken affect this? Does anyone have a reasonable headcount for how many votes a reasonable bill might get? Is it the entire Democratic caucus save Nelson and Lincoln? And how far gone are Nelson and Lincoln?
And another question: are private insurers especially opposed to combining a public option with a tax on employer-provided health care subsidies? It seems logical that they would be, but I haven’t heard this, only that they are opposed to the public option.