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Contentions

Too Big

Rick Klein of ABC News wonders if the health-care bill has become a monstrosity, too big and too controversial to pass through the thicket of conflicting interests that are emerging from every corner:

The health care bill has become an abortion bill — and an immigration bill, and a tax bill, and a jobs bill, and a spending bill — not to mention the most significant re-working of the nation’s health care system in half a century.

The growing scope is a consequence of the scope of the president’s ambitions, plus the ever-expanding need to attract more votes for something that not everyone agrees is a policy or political winner. (How long before we hear from Republicans that health care reform is simply too big not to fail?)

Well, yes. It is too big in two senses. First, it is too expensive, scaring Americans already wary of the mound of debt and requiring a huge tax burden to maintain the fiction of deficit neutrality. And second, it is too sprawling and controversial — touching on too many hot-button issues. Seniors get their Medicare slashed. Businesses get a new mandate. Individuals get a directive to purchase insurance and a fine if they don’t comply. There is something for everyone to hate.

Perhaps there is some precedent for an enormous, unpopular, highly controversial bill to pass by the narrowest of partisan margins. But I’m hard pressed to think of it. There may yet be a path to passage of this monstrous legislation, but with each passing week it seems more likely that common sense will eventually prevail and that a bipartisan majority will emerge, when ObamaCare collapses under its own weight, for limited, targeted reforms. But we’re a long way from that.



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