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Teddy's Triumph

From the July 7 / July 14, 2003 issue: What Kennedy knows that other Democrats don't.

Jul 7, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 42 • By FRED BARNES
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Kennedy is gambling. He kept abreast of talks as Grassley and Democratic senator Max Baucus reached a compromise and quickly endorsed it. He's gambling the incentives to lure seniors to private health insurance plans, contained in the Medicare bill passed by the House, will be weakened or dropped when the House and Senate meet in conference to hash out the differences in their bills. He's probably right. Bush, who needs a domestic policy triumph, can't afford to have Kennedy drop his support. Another gamble is that the measure, which would go into effect in 2006, will not prompt a migration out of government-managed Medicare. Bush believes it will. They can't both be right.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.