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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Calling the Doctor

While J.P. Green is appropriately concerned about Blue Dog threats to derail health care reform in the House, the House effort got a big and somewhat surprising boost today when the American Medical Association endorsed the three-committee House proposal.
This changes the dynamics of health reform in some pretty dramatic ways. It elevates the House proposal from a liberal marker set down to constrain less ambitious Senate plans into something with its own momentum (reinforced by CBO’s estimates of its high impact and within-budget cost).
But more importantly, it will be much harder now for conservatives to demonize the entire health care reform effort as aimed at “socialized medicine” and as destroying the right to choose a doctor or allow doctors to control treatment decisions. The AMA has a well-earned reputation for conservatism in health care policy (it opposed Medicare–and for that matter, Social Security–when originally proposed). Americans who don’t follow the details of specific proposals but trust their Docs will pay some serious attention to this endorsement.
Jon Chait at TNR has some important questions about the price the AMA has secured for this action, but for the moment, it’s a welcome development.

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