Monday, March 22, 2010

Who Said Change Was Going To Be Easy

Health insurance reform passed.  At least some form of it.  Here's a decent synopsis of what's in the bill.  It's not what ultra-liberals wanted, a single-payer, run by the government, health insurance option available to all people regardless of income level.  It's definitely not what conservatives wanted, which was to maintain the status quo in which 30+ million Americans were without healthcare. 

Remember, conservatives have been against every major piece of progressive, "liberal" legislation in the last one hundred years including, but, not limited to, labor laws (including mandatory maximum work weeks, establishment of a minimum wage and every increase since then for example), social security, disability, medicare, medicaid.  I'm sure there's more but, that's all that I can think of off the top of my head.  Tea partiers must be besides themselves.  And will Limbaugh really leave the country now?

Obama ran on change and this legislation is certainly that.  Health insurance legislation was one the cornerstones of Obama's change platform.  The Dems won the presidency and both chambers of Congress on the coattails of Obama's pledge of change.  And when a party wins both the presidency and the Congress you get change.  And then you get a political backlash against that change.  It almost happens like clockwork, especially in a president's first term.  In fact only 3 presidents since Reconstruction have netted seats in midterm elections (FDR-first midterm gain, Clinton-second midterm gain and W.-first midterm gain; I attritbute W.'s midterm success in 2002 to the goodwill directed towards him and the GOP in the aftermath of 9/11, but, that's just my take).  Let's see what happens next.  Maybe the Dems lose the House or Senate in the midterm elections.  I certainly doubt they lose both.  Dodd's financial reform bill just flew through the Senate committee and is headed to the Senate floor for debate.  More change on the way?  Who could possibly be against financial rules changes in the wake of "too big to fail?"

But, as usual, I digress.  So there will be changes in health insurance but not as much as some wanted and way more than others desired.  That compromises were made should surprise no one.  Don't forget some of the definitions of compromise: 1. To arrive at a settlement by making concessions; 2. To reduce the quality, value, or degree of something.


  1. I keep waiting to hear a convincing explanation of why health care/insurance reform is "tyranny," as so many conservatives have proclaimed. I'm required to buy car insurance if I choose to drive a car--is that tyrannical? I suppose the argument could be made that I'm "free" not to drive a car, so... okay, what about the fact that kids are required by law to attend school until a certain age? Tyranny? Apparently so. Health care/insurance reform is the end of liberty. Riiiiiiight.

    I think you're correct--this is another case in which the GOP will be on the wrong side of history. Once the American people start to benefit from these reforms (assuming the Republicans don't succeed in overturning them) they won't want to go back to the way things were. In the short term, the Democrats are going to have to get out there and sell this to the public in order to avoid losing too many seats this fall.

  2. Jeff, as always, thanks for your consideration and comment regarding this post. Good point and example of the government mandating we do certain things such as maintain car insurance.

    The federal government also mandates we do or don't do things all the time and in a wide variety of areas of our lives. We pay taxes, and pay into social security and other funds. We can't drive over a certain speed.

    Now GOP'ers are attempting to make an argument that the health insurance reform is unconstitutional based, presumably, on a 10th amendment challenge. Well, any constitutional scholar will likely tell you that the 10th amendment(states' rights) has been, for better or worse, gutted over the years in a number of ways. Voting rights, speed limits, drinking age, no-child-left-behind, other educational funding issues, taxes to fund social security, medicare, medicaid are all mandated by the federal government. So I don't the constitutional challenge to health insurance reform will go anywhere. I could be wrong though.

    Besides, the states can't even pave roads. Do we really want 50 different states with 50 different ways of regulating health insurance companies? And how well have the states been doing regulating health insurance companies to date?

  3. Have you seen this?!?

    And this?

  4. I had read Frum's refreshing take on the health insurance reform fight being the GOP's Waterloo. I say refreshing given that he's a staunch conservative and former speech writer for W. I also had read somewhere that he was essentially fired from the conservative AEI think tank. Hmmmm...I wonder why he was fired...

  5. Because [affects Jack Nicholson voice] they can't handle the truth!