I wrote back in February that one of the biggest threats to health reform was not from conservatives and the right, but from within President Obama’s own party.
Today, some four months later, the Washington Post reports that that’s pretty much what’s happening. In its report, the Post writes:
In the high-stakes battle over health care, a growing cadre of liberal activists is aiming its sharpest firepower against Democratic senators who they accuse of being insufficiently committed to the cause.
The attacks — ranging from tart news releases to full-fledged advertising campaigns — have elicited rebuttals from lawmakers and sparked a debate inside the party over the best strategy for achieving President Obama’s top priority of a comprehensive health-system overhaul.
At a time where liberals need to form a cohesive front to overcome the obstacles to reform, they are, instead, sniping among themselves.
Most of these activist groups feel that the current reform proposals don’t go far enough, and support a single player, or Medicare for all, approach. David Himmelstein for instance, founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, has been quoted to say that “if the reform plan looked like the Massachusetts reform he probably would prefer the status quo.”
To these progressives’ dismay, none of the current proposals go that far, and indeed, left-leaning blogger Ezra Klein writes, “there is nothing in Barack Obama’s plan that would enact such a thing and nothing in the political jockeying we’ve seen thus far that should make anybody think [a single payer system] is possible.”
Paul Krugman wrote in a recent column that, “the perfect is the enemy of the good,” and in holding steadfast in their demands for a single payer system, these liberal groups may do more harm to the reform effort than any Republican or conservative can ever inflict.