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April 26, 2009


I agree with you that a health care bill, even if enacted through the reconciliation process is unlikely to be overturned by a subsequent Congress, but not for the 60-vote pivot reason you give.* Your assumption is that reconciliation wouldn't be used by a future Congress to overturn health care, but that seems like a highly questionable assumption. As a theoretical matter, killing a health care plan that is financed by continuing deficits would be a more appropriate use of the reconciliation process than enacting such a plan would be. As a political matter, cheapening the currency of reconciliation now would almost certainly lead to its greater use in the future to avoid filibusters.
* I think it will be hard to kill a health care plan, once enacted, because so many elements in the present financing of health care will be changed that unchanging them will be unfeasible. In addition, health care will become like Social Security, a political third-rail that delivers 900 volts of demagoguery into anyone who tries to change it.

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