If you have any doubt that the Democratic leadership of the House views passing the current health care reform bill as the beginning, not the end, of the process of creating a national government health care system, just note what Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a group of bloggers on Monday. "My biggest fight has been between those who wanted to do something incremental and those who wanted to do something comprehensive," Pelosi said, according to an account by Washington Post reform advocate Ezra Klein. "We won that fight, and once we kick through this door, there'll be more legislation to follow."
But since the current bill is unpopular, and Pelosi at the moment does not have enough Democratic, much less Republican, votes to pass it, the door she will be kicking through is the back door. Pelosi told the bloggers she favors using the "self-executing rule" strategy in which the House would pass the Senate health care bill without going on the record as specifically voting for it. "I like it," Pelosi said of the scheme, "because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill." The strategy of passing the Senate bill while avoiding a direct vote, writes Klein, "is all about plausible deniability for House members who don't want to vote for the Senate bill."