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Shuler and McIntyre help delay health care bill in House

[1]The Blue Dog Coalition of Democrats sent this letter [2] to U.S. House leaders expressing dissatisfaction with current proposals for health reform. Heath Shuler and Mike McIntyre both signed on to the letter.

What exactly concerns the Blue Dogs is unclear. Health reform is expensive and they don’t like that. They want more delivery system reforms without specifying what they would change besides “value-based purchasing” and “the value index.” They like small businesses. The want a “strong rural package.” They want bipartisanship.

These obstructionists are going to have to get clearer about what they want to see in the final bill. Overhauling a broken health care system is going to be expensive — not much we can do about that. And the more delivery system reforms we attempt the more we will have to shell out in up-front costs.

Everyone knows we need payment reform — that’s why the House wants to pilot new models like the Accountable Care Organization. Aggressive payment reform is a bit dangerous until we understand what works. I’m assuming that the small business and rural package lines were thrown in for show.

Everyone would like bipartisanship. But Republicans are staking their future electoral success on the failure of health reform. That means they are going to oppose darn near every proposal floated by Democrats. Democrats can’t just stand by and let Republicans scuttle the health care bill in the name of bipartisanship.

I think the real sticking point is that Blue Dogs don’t want a real public option. I hope their constituents will let them know why a public option is important.