Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Health Reform and the Back Burner

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said a mouthful. "We're not going to be bound by timelines", was his response when asked about the prospect of signing into law any form of significant health reform this year. This marks an important departure from what has been a consistent full court press by White House, Senate and House leaders. Health Reform and Now has been the theme... or better said, the key priority for the past six months. But last night's election results (New Jersey and Virginia) may be causing some to pause and take notice. Nancy Pelosi has said that she's willing to lose seats in order to pass Reform law, but now, given Reid's signal that this may not take place this year at all, thus moving the debate into a critical election year, the three top leaders may no longer be completely in step. Last night's gubernatorial results in NJ and VA should hardly impact the national reform debate... though some legislators, particularly those in the House, may have noticed that the President's political capital may have fallen as he was unable to save the Democratic candidates in those states. What does this mean? Perhaps that massive health reform may not fly. I believe the President knew what he was doing by pushing this agenda so fast and so hard and the fact that Reid is no longer, could (repeat could) signal the beginning of the end. The closer to the back burner this goes, the more likely it will come off the stove.

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