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If you were worried last week that congressional blue dogs were holding up health-care reform--and they included Tennessee's John Tanner--you might want to give them a break. Their major concern is that the plan will contain reimbursement rates like Medicare's, in which medical providers are paid based on a Chinese-algebra version of cost-of-living disparities.
As a general rule, providers in high cost areas like New York or Los Angeles receive more for their services than they would in, say, Tennessee. No one really disputes the need for this, since the cost of providing services in Manhattan far out-pace the costs in Knoxville. But health-care people in small cities and rural states believe they've long been artificially screwed by Washington bureaucrats who somehow believe that living in a place like Nashville is comparable to living in Bangladesh.
So while Democrats may sigh at seeing members of their own party holding up badly needed reform, the blue dogs' cause is a righteous one--so long as their opposition doesn't scuttle reform altogether, which would do rural areas far more damage.