Sunday, March 21, 2010

The ayes have it

The House of Representatives appears poised to pass health care reform tonight, effectively ending a yearlong melodrama and bringing to fruition a dream of progressives for eons. I am sure there will be many kinks in this legislation -- the old sausage-making analogy comes to mind -- but the status quo would be worse and that is unacceptable. Give President Obama credit for sticking with something he's been advocating since the campaign, despite the likely high political cost.

And remember, the bill that the Democrats "rammed through" (after a year of attempts to bring in some Republican votes) is less ambitious that what President Nixon proposed during his second term -- but that was when there were some in the GOP who were not completely insane. Ezra Klein, blogging on The Washington Post site, wrote:
If I'd told you that the Obama administration was going to release a health-care bill that would attract every Senate Democrat -- from Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer to Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman -- and either endorsements or neutrality from the American Medical Association, the hospital industry, the pharmaceutical industry, AARP, labor, and much of the insurance industry (though they're press releases have become more oppositional recently), you'd have thought that was a pretty moderate, consensus-oriented bill. Which it is! But most Americans don't think that because the Republicans decided to treat it as the second coming of fascism.
Meanwhile, Paul Krugman at The New York Times offers a reminder as to why the health insurance industry needs to be reformed:
Right now, we have a system that creates huge incentives for bad, one might say demonic, behavior [by health insurance providers]. We can end all of that — not in some indefinite future, but with a single vote right now.
Count the votes!

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