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Posted by on Dec 15, 2009 in Health, Politics | 13 comments

Senate Progressives: Rational or [Bleep] Crazy?

I suggested yesterday that Senate progressives would not be acting rationally if they killed their chamber’s health bill because it doesn’t go far enough — i.e., because it was tailored back from their vision of “great” to something “less great” in order to secure the votes of the Independent senator from Connecticut and/or the Republican senators from Maine.

Nate Silver goes a step further, claiming Senate progressives would be ‘[expletive] crazy’ to kill an amended, make-Joe-happy bill.

His detailed explanation is worth considering — and challenging, if you’re so inclined. In fact, Silver invites your challenges:

… please do pick apart my numbers: I’m sure that you will find some questionable assumptions and possibly some outright errors. But if you found a persuasive, progressive policy rationale against the bill, I’d be stunned.

So have at it. In the meantime, I’ll put my money on Silver, and if I win that bet, if Silver and his calculations are correct, then progressives who kill the bill should blame themselves, first, for any resulting cascade of falling dominoes.

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UPDATE: Jonathan Cohn (via Ben Smith) reaches a conclusion similar to Nate’s and suggests the following about the “movement” that resulted in the Senate bill sans public option and Medicare expansion …

Someday in the future, that movement may be powerful enough to win more sweeping changes. Who knows, maybe those changes will include a government-run insurance plan.

Or maybe those changes will include other, smarter, more politically viable ways to “curb costs and increase quality,” such as one or more of the “test” programs to that end that are apparently already in the Senate bill.