Strategy memo

STRATEGY MEMO…. Long-time observers of the health care reform debate may recall that about 16 years ago, Bill Kristol crafted a strategy memo for congressional Republicans, advising them on how best to deal with then-President Clinton’s health care reform initiative. His memo offered a simple and clear direction: the GOP had to kill the Clinton reform plan at all costs. Republicans took the advice, and reaped the political rewards of the plan’s demise.

It occurred to me that Democratic policymakers might benefit from a similar strategy memo — offering the opposite advice — while the party weighs its options. So I wrote one. It’s online here.

While Kristol published his strategy in his capacity as the chairman of “Project for the Republican Future,” I’m publishing mine as part of something I’ve labeled the “Project for a Healthy American Future.”*

The memo presents a way forward, and explains why such a course is necessary: the House should quickly approve the reform bill passed by the Senate; the Senate should extend assurances to the House about proposed changes; and the White House should provide the leadership that brings the contingents together.

The arguments will no doubt seem familiar to those who’ve been following the process closely, but it’s my hope that it will be valuable to have the totality of the argument in one document.

I’ve already been in contact with some congressional offices about bringing the strategy memo to the attention of lawmakers and administration officials. If readers wanted to help distribute the document, you can refer interested parties to the online version; you can copy and paste the text into an email, or you can make use of a pdf version, which is available at the bottom of the piece.

Americans have been talking about getting this done for a century now, and we’re painfully close to delivering on the promise of reform. It is not too late for champions of reform to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity, and bring meaningful, life-saving change to a dysfunctional system.

Democrats have already paid a steep political price for proposing and working towards a solution; now it’s time for policymakers to reap the rewards that come with completing the task.

* Post Script: Just to be clear, there is no actual “Project for a Healthy American Future.” I came up with the name as a way to tweak/mock the Kristol letter. I’m just a blogger sharing some ideas about health care reform, not launching an advocacy group.