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Argument: Killing 2009 health bill would delay reform for years

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Supporting quotations

David Brooks. "The Hardest Call." New York Times. December 17, 2009: "The fourth reason to support the bill is that if this fails, it will take a long time to get back to health reform. Clinton failed. Obama will have failed. No one will touch this. Meanwhile, health costs will continue their inexorable march upward, strangling the nation."

Jacob Hacker. "Why I still believe in this bill." The New Republic. December 20th, 2009: "Since the first campaign for publicly guaranteed health insurance in the early twentieth century, opportunities for serious health reform have come only rarely and fleetingly. If this opportunity passes, it will be very long before the chance arrives again. Many Americans will be gravely hurt by the delay. The most progressive president of my generation--the generation that came of age in the anti-government shadow of Ronald Reagan--will be handed a crippling loss. The party he leads will be branded as unable to govern."

"Health reform right now beats none at all." Chicago Sun Times. December 20, 2009: "Pass the Senate health-care reform bill now. Call it a Christmas present to the nation.

Deeply flawed as the bill may be, it offers the promise of dramatically better health-care coverage in the United States -- and to let this chance slip away is to risk killing reform for another generation to come.

As Bill Clinton, who famously failed to reform health care early in his presidency and never got a second shot at it, said last week: 'Take it from someone who knows -- these chances don't come around every day.'"

Jonathan Cohn. "Yes, I can be excited about this bill." TPM Cafe. December 18, 2009: "The chances that killing this bill will get us something better seem incredibly remote to me. Reconciliation, the process under which budget-related matters can pass with just 50 votes, is a messy procedure under which, most likely, the Senate parliamentarian would exclude huge portions of the bill. It'd also set back the clock, at a time when the polls are turning increasingly against health reform--in part, I suspect, because people are sick of talking about it and want to hear about jobs. Failure on health care reform, meanwhile, isn't going to help elect ten new progressive senators who can change the rules of that chamber. If anything, it will have the very opposite effect: Electing more conservatives. The numbers in Congress, discouraging as they are, probably won't look this good for a long time."

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