Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Sirota at America's Future Now! conference

One divide here is between passion and caution on health care reform. At several events, cries of "single payer" come up when health care is being discussed. They are the further-left, all-or-nothing folks who want single payer swept in now ... or nothing, I suppose. There's a real reluctance by the power players here to push hard for single payer. On Monday, Gov. Howard Dean explained it as more palatable (and salable?) to simply place a public option on a menu of choices Americans can choose from.

Their caution is warranted. In 1993, the Clintons pressed for sweeping change and got nothing. Obama is playing it closer to the vest and asking for something more incremental. But is that the right strategy?

It's time for progressives to press hard for single payer, David Sirota observed this morning. We can expect the change we will actually see from this process to be somewhat incremental - and perhaps including some kind of public option - so why push for less than what most Americans want? If we push hard Congress hard for more than we expect to get, that makes compromising for less more productive. That's something many Democrats and progressives don't seem to get, Sirota said, but it's time they learned. It's Negotiating 101.

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