In an interview with the Helena Independent Record, Senate Finance chair Max Baucus defended his emphasis on trying to solicit widespread GOP support for the health care bill by claiming that bipartisan legislation is "more sustainable... more durable and long-lasting":
In a 50-minute interview with the Independent Record’s editorial board, Baucus defended his huddling with just two other Democrats along with three Republican senators to hammer out a health reform package, at a time when his party controls the White House, the House of Representatives and has a 60-vote majority in the Senate.
Baucus has drawn fire from members of his own party for being too compromising on reform. Some Democrats believe he’s bowing to pressure from pharmaceutical and insurance industry interests as well as from Republicans.
“I just think if it is bipartisan, it’s more sustainable, it’s more durable, long-lasting. There will be more buy-in around the country,” Baucus said. “We’re going to make some mistakes. If it’s bipartisan, it will be easier to fix the mistakes, work together to fix the mistakes. It’s just better for the country.”
This claim has become an article of conventional wisdom in Washington. It's certainly plausible, but as I noted back in June, there's no empirical evidence that it is true. While the leading political science study (PDF) on the issue finds that policy durability (i.e. the likelihood of a law being amended over time) does decrease as the size of the enacting coalition declines, a preliminary reanalysis of the data by co-author Charles Shipan found no evidence that bills that receive greater minority party support are more durable.