Monday, December 23, 2013

OPINION - Shield and Brooks 12/20/2013

"Shields and Brooks on the health care law legacy, gifts for politicians" PBS Newshour 12/20/2013


JUDY WOODRUFF (Newshour):  And to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That's syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Welcome, gentlemen.

We're going to do our own version of brain training.

Talk about today's news conference by the president.  David, it's been a rough year for the president.  He was asked a lot of questions about what went wrong, especially when it came to health care.  He acknowledged some problems, but he kept saying, I did the right thing.

DAVID BROOKS, New York Times columnist:  Yes.  On health care, it's going to be political.  It's going to be, let's say, the confluence of the politics and the messy implementation.

So, what happened last night was, they announced this delay -- or this delay in some of the -- really wiping away some of the internal mandate, the individual mandates for people who have hardship exemptions.  And that came about as a bit because of political pressure from Democrats.

And the thing to look forward to in the -- really the months and years ahead -- or especially the months ahead, as the midterms approach, is, are more Democrats pressing the president to sort of weaken the individual mandate further, further, further?  And if it becomes politically unsustainable, for a lot of Senate Democrats in particular, then the individual mandate begins to look weaker, possibly goes away.

And if that goes away, then the health care law goes away.  So, they don't have a long time to implement the health care, because the political pressure may interrupt their effect to really implement the change and reform to make the thing work.

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