Critical Condition

Thanksgiving with the Emanuels

The New York Times reports a “growing revolt” among “some Democrats” concerned that the health plans under consideration are extremely expensive and won’t solve the problem of runaway health costs. The article does not cite enough Democrats to give one the size of this revolt, but it does quote Democratic senator Ron Wyden, who cosponsored what may be the only bipartisan health-reform bill, as saying that the current legislation is “heavy on health and light on reform.”

The article also sets up an interesting family struggle, pitting White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel against his brother, OMB adviser Zeke, on the issue of whether they want an ideal bill or just something that will pass Congress. Rahm, unsurprisingly, is in what the Times calls the “pragmatist” camp, along with health-policy czar Nancy-Ann DeParle. Zeke, allied with OMB director Peter Orszag, stands with the “idealists.”  I’m not sure this dispute will have much impact on the shape of health-care legislation — Congress appears to be in bill-at-any-price mode — but it could make for an interesting Thanksgiving at the Emanuel residence this year.

Tevi Troy Tevi Troy is a presidential historian and former White House aide.

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