It's the jumpy season for health care reform, this end game with a thousand twists and turns. Rumors fly around, meetings happen where things said get misinterpreted. Senators get nervous, groups get nervous, and your friendly neighborhood blogger and consultant gets called sometimes.
All of this is natural to an intense legislative battle, and (some of the time) it's healthy too, because trial balloons get popped or false rumors get discredited. So here's my story: a worried Senator, and a couple of groups working on the health care battle, called me last night to tell me they were extremely nervous that the White House was on the verge cutting a deal with Olmpia Snowe on her trigger-that's-not-a-trigger amendment. That rumor got combined with a story about the White House discouraging a floor fight over the public option, and suddenly a lot of folks were very upset, especially because things were moving fast in the Finance committee.
I wrote a story about what I was hearing this morning, and by the end of the day, it now looks like my sources and I jumped the gun. The White House has denied, on the record to Sam Stein at Huffington Post, they are pressuring anyone on the trigger proposal, and I have been privately been told by very senior White House staffers that my report was wrong.
I am glad to hear that, because this trigger amendment is awful, written on purpose to avoid ever being triggered. But having things like this happen is a very good thing, because it provides some clarity as to what is happening in this debate. I don't think my sources were wrong to be nervous, there is a whole lot of deal cutting going on, and I am glad that the White House responded so clearly and firmly that they are not interested in pressuring anyone to support this rotten trigger idea. We still have a long way to go in this fight, and we don't know what will happen in the end game.
But for the moment, I've never been so pleased to have gotten it wrong.