Talk about a head scratcher. The plan now is to expand Medicare while at the same time gutting it (if such a thing is possible). In a bid to say they have some sort – any sort – of a public plan included in the bill, Harry Reid hailed a “compromise” reached that would jettison the public option, yet lower Medicare eligibility to age 55 (for a fee). The senators mentioned in the “compromise” then immediately announced no such deal had actually been reached. The agreement to which Reid referred was simply permission to send the proposal to the CBO for cost estimates. Reid had to grab for some sort of positive momentum as the centerpiece of the Democrats’ and Obama’s domestic agenda continues to slip away. The decidedly underwhelming announcement was nonetheless breathlessly echoed in media reports as a “broad compromise” (sigh – I won’t flog a dead horse).

The pressure to pass a bill, any bill, no matter the consequence now trumps all. Reform be damned, it’s all about politics, something supporters should honestly consider. Costs go up? Who cares, we passed a bill. Quality of care goes down? Who cares, we passed a bill. Scientific breakthrough and innovation come to a screeching halt? Who cares, we passed a bill. An all-out effort to save one’s derriere is never pretty to behold (which is exactly what Reid is doing in an attempt to salvage his cratering poll numbers in his home state of Nevada). Doubly so when the welfare of the country, and millions of its citizens, suffer as a result.