The capitol is all abuzz with talk of a new new deal, although the Politico’s Glenn Thrush points out that this at least the sixth groundbreaking deal announced in the torturous meanderings towards a health bill. It’s difficult to speculate about all of the deal’s policy implications, since the details are sketchy. One element I am nervous about is the expansion of Medicare to the 55-64 crowd, which will likely weaken Medicare’s already shaky finances.
But this deal is more about the politics than the substance, and the political meaning is that it brings us closer an expensive, unwieldy, and ultimately unaffordable health care bill. The secretive negotiations among the 5 “moderates” and 5 liberals was a one-party show designed for one thing only: Senate passage. The Democrats are no longer even making the pretense of working on a bipartisan basis or even towards a better health bill, just towards something that will secure 60 votes. They are now closer to getting there, but not closer to fixing our long-term health care financing mess.