Why Health Care Reform is a Nonstarter

Kimberly Strassel suggests it’s too much dissent within the party, and a leader who’s more interested in hearing himself talk than in proposing any viable solution:

Here’s the dirty secret behind Washington’s health-care “fight”: Democrats won everything in last year’s election.

You wouldn’t know it from the way President Barack Obama is blaming the GOP for his flagging health agenda. “There are those [read the GOP] who are advocating delay just as a desperation move to try to kill it,” complained White House budget director Peter Orszag. Republicans are working to “block health-care reform,” groused the president. “Republicans should immediately put an end to their political games,” demanded Democratic Rep. Chris van Hollen.

Indeed. The party of the left owns the White House, a filibuster-proof Senate, and a 70-seat House majority. As one House Republican aide quipped: “We could have every GOP congressman and their parents vote against a Democratic bill, and still not stop it.” All Democrats have to do is agree on something.

That they can’t is testimony to Team Obama’s mismanagement of its first big legislative project. The president is a skilled politician and orator, but the real test of a new administration is whether it can shepherd a high-stakes bill through Congress. In retrospect, the mistakes are growing clear.

Krauthammer proposes tort reform as the only long-term vehicle for health care reform:

The president is therefore understandably eager to make this a contest between progressive Democrats and reactionary Republicans. He seized on Republican Sen. Jim DeMint’s comment that stopping Obama on health care would break his presidency to protest, with perfect disingenuousness, that "this isn’t about me. This isn’t about politics."

It’s all about him. Health care is his signature reform. And he knows that if he produces nothing, he forfeits the mystique that both propelled him to the presidency and has sustained him through a difficult first six months. Which is why Obama’s red lines are constantly shifting. Universal coverage? Maybe not. No middle-class tax hit? Well, perhaps, but only if they don’t "primarily" bear the burden. Because it’s about him, Obama is quite prepared to sign anything as long as it is titled "health-care reform."
This is not about politics? Then why is it, to take but the most egregious example, that in this grand health-care debate we hear not a word about one of the worst sources of waste in American medicine: the insane cost and arbitrary rewards of our malpractice system?

When a neurosurgeon pays $200,000 a year for malpractice insurance before he even turns on the light in his office or hires his first nurse, who do you think pays? Patients, in higher doctor fees to cover the insurance.

And with jackpot justice that awards one claimant zillions while others get nothing — and one-third of everything goes to the lawyers

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