22 December 2009

More On Health Care

Andrew Sullivan nails it:
What Obama has done is force the existing system to insure 30 million more people at a modest cost, and to include a swathe of (still-insufficient) varieties and strategies of cost-control. This is huge - the biggest first year achievement of any president since Reagan. If you consider that he did this while also managing the steepest down-turn in decades, revamping America's image in the world, preventing a banking implosion, and prosecuting two unresolved wars in the face of almost deranged opposition, it's pretty damn impressive.
Ross Douthat:
In the end, when the history of the health care debate is written, I don't think any of the choices that G.O.P. lawmakers made this year will loom particularly large. The choices that they made, or didn't make, across the last fifteen years are what made all the difference. Between the defeat of Clintoncare and the election of Barack Obama, the Republicans had plenty of chances to take ownership of the health care issue and pass a significant reform along more free-market, cost-effective lines. They didn't. The system deteriorated on their watch instead. And now they're reaping the consequences.
Taegan Goddard:
...the political blunder made by Republicans -- an all or nothing effort to defeat the bill -- means they will now have to live with the consequences for a generation or more.
Two more random points:

1. As Sullivan said, the cost-controls in the Senate bill are insufficient. Over the next couple of years, congress should work to get those under control. This bill is a step in the right direction, though.

2. While 60 votes were cobbled together to end the filibuster the other night, and while the bill looks to be on track to jump over some procedural moves this week on its way to passage by Christmas Eve, this process still has one more major battle ahead before it becomes law. This is the SENATE bill. Last month the HOUSE passed their bill. Once the Senate passes their bill this week, a conference committee consisting of key members of both houses will try to merge the two bills into one. The final bill is then voted on by both houses of congress before going to the president for signature. This is how most bills work. But with two conservative Democrats saying they won't support certain measures in the House bill if they wind up in the merged final product, then we're in for another bumpy ride after the holidays. (As the Ways and Means Committee Chairman said about merging these two health care bills, "It's akin to mating a Chihuahua with a Great Dane.")