Monday, March 22, 2010

March 22, 2010

       The most recent health care debate didn't really last longer than World War II;  it only seemed that way.  And it really is historic--right up there with Medicare in 1965 and Social Security in the 1930s.  Wow, Congress!  Well done.  And thank you, Mr. President, for pushing Congress until it did act.      The process isn't quite over.  The Senate and House have both passed the Senate bill, so it becomes law.  But there's also a reconciliation package--some House-approved changes to the Senate bill--under a procedure which will prevent it being filibustered once the Senate takes it up.  That's supposed to happen this week, but even if it doesn't, the Senate bill is on its way to the President's desk.      This is good news in a great many ways.  For years, we've been the only developed country without health insurance for just about everybody.  That will change now.  As the bill phases in over the next several years, thirty-two million Americans who don't now have health insurance will get it.  Pretty hard to argue against that.  Some costs will go up;  Medicare payments will rise.  As someone who pays them, I'll happily accept the increase because of those thirty-two million of us who'll be getting coverage.  And it may not all work perfectly, of course;  few laws do.  But we can change the parts that don't work, amend them in the years to come.      There's only one downside.  The approval process was rancorous and partisan.  Zero Republicans voted for the program.  One GOP Congressman shouted "You lie" at the President as he spoke in favor of the bill.  That's bad for politics, bad for the Congress, bad for the country.     How bad?  We'll have to wait to find out. 

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