Friday, 19 March 2010

Health care reform: the collective action problem

If the Congressional Democrats pass the Health Care Reform Bill, probably on Sunday, many may consider it, for good or ill, 'the most important piece of social legislation for forty years'. If they do not, then much of the first year of the Obama Presidency will have effectively been wasted, in legislative terms at least.

So most Democrats see the necessity of passing the Bill, including those Congressmen in districts which preferred John McCain to Barack Obama who expect to pay a personal electoral price if they vote for the Bill.

The Washington question may increasingly become less whether they have the 216 votes they need, but which 216 votes they pass the Bill with.

Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com explains the game theory dynamics.

They are also captured in this Jeff Zeleny New York Times report on how Democrats are weighing success versus survival.


as the week inches along, with momentum steadily building to a Sunday vote, the party leaders are also beginning to decide which politically endangered lawmakers will be given absolution to vote no.


Uber-anoraks can watch the Congressional waverers in pretty much real time at David Dayen's Health Care Whip Count.

And liberal critics of the Bill in the Democratic Party, who wanted it to be stronger, are increasingly swinging behind it - with polls now showing liberals generally support it by 89% to 3%, after MoveOn members voted 83% in favour. Nate Silver again explains the mood shift: in which liberal Democrats increasingly see an imperfect Bill as a cause very much worth fighting for.

1 comment:

International Commentarian Solidarity said...

Ironically, Kucinich voted down the public option bill (due to it not being single payer medicare for all), but is voting for the bill without the public option. Just shows sticking to your principles isn't always the best thing to do.