Reform begets reform
This is a good point from Fred Hiatt:
[M]aybe the country isn't all that divided -- most of us would welcome common-sense improvements in health-care delivery and insurance -- but the system feeds on and exacerbates our differences. The advent of the 60-vote rule in the Senate has magnified the already formidable checks and balances built into the Constitution, with the disproportionate blocking power it awards small and rural states. Cable television and the Internet have empowered those with the greatest intensity of feeling. The self-serving redistricting habits of the political elite, designed to protect incumbents, have left most legislators vulnerable only to primary challenges from the extremes of their respective parties.
Whichever explanation appeals to you -- and no doubt they all contain some truth -- the perception of paralysis increases the urgency of passing health-care reform. Failure would damage the Obama presidency, and it would also deepen the fear, here and abroad, that America is stuck.
To put this slightly differently, the failure of this health-care reform bill will not be taken as evidence that people should try other health-care reform bills with much more severe -- and thus unpopular -- cost-cutting measures. It will be that even a popular president backed by the largest Senate majority since the 1970s couldn't pass a fairly modest health-care bill. If you don't believe me, just ask the Republican presidential candidates if any of them are preparing detailed plans to privatize Social Security.
"Doing" health-care reform proves something important: Health-care reform can be done. That's not an argument for a bad bill, as Hiatt is careful to say, but it's an argument for recognizing that an imperfect bill is the beginning of a necessary process, while a damaging defeat ends any hope of one.
November 23, 2009; 11:09 AM ET
Categories: Health Reform
Save & Share: Previous: Was Obama's trip to China an embarrassing failure or an unqualified success?
Next: Are conservatives beginning to admit the need for new taxes?
Posted by: Mimikatz | November 23, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: exgovgirl | November 23, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: scarlota | November 23, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: howard16 | November 23, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: wvng | November 23, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: spotatl | November 23, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Mimikatz | November 23, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bcbulger | November 23, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: WrongfulDeath | November 23, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: NealB1 | November 23, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: wisewon | November 23, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: redscott | November 23, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bmull | November 23, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jwalavanam | November 24, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.