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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You're Not Crazy, They Are

One of the main Democratic stumbling blocks to health care reform hasn't always been one of the main Democratic stumbling blocks to health care reform. At least, in theory. Steve Benen has dug up a letter [PDF] from Sens. Kennedy and Baucus to President Obama written in April.

That letter urges the new president to get to work on healthcare reform right pronto, saying, "We must act swiftly, because the cost of inaction is too high for individuals, families, businesses, state and federal governments" and that Baucus and Kennedy are ready to work with congress and the White House "to achieve these long-overdue reforms without delay." Ted Kennedy was the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions [HELP] Committee, while Max Baucus -- our main Democratic stumbling block to health care reform -- chairs the Senate Finance Committee. Ted and Max wrote that they would write to bills to pass each respective committee, then get right on the ball, making sure the two pieces of legislation would be "quickly merged into a single bill for consideration on the Senate floor."

"With your continued leadership and commitment, and working together, we remain certain that our goal of enacting comprehensive health care reform can be accomplished with the urgency that the American people rightly demand," the senators wrote. They got that whole "fierce urgency of now" thing. Americans were going to have healthcare reform and yesterday wasn't soon enough. Then, as Benen explains, it all went to hell:

[W]hile Baucus agreed in April that lawmakers must "act swiftly," "without delay," and "with swift action," Baucus now believes that his own Sept. 15 deadline for his committee -- already three months past the original target date he set for himself -- should be ignored...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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