Thursday, December 31, 2009

Continuing the Fight on Obamacare

The Christmas recess is giving the health care debate a break from the news cycle, or is it the other way around? Regardless, I think that it is important to keep fighting on this issue for a number of reasons.

1. It's not over yet, although things look bad. Pelosi can probably get enough Blue Dogs in line and you knew all along that the "progressives" who vowed to block any bill without a public option were blowing smoke. If the far left succeeds in getting a public option into a conference committee bill, then passage in the Senate becomes doubtful. See leftist discussion here and here, from the left wing Firedoglake on Pelosi's difficulties.

2. Even if something is passed, most of it won't take effect right away, except the taxes. The Democrats have always tried to built support for social welfare programs by getting a constituency hooked on the benefits (see Medicare) so as to make repeal impossible. Because of their need to get this piece of stupidity scored as "not budget busting" (LOL) they have front loaded the taxes, but not the benefits. As the taxes impact the economy, they will have a negative impact. Meanwhile, with no "benefits" forthcoming, the GOP can campaign safely on a promise of repeal. Probably the only popular part of the package will be the promise of portability or the ability to keep one's coverage during job changes. Since this has always been part of the conservative/libertarian discussion, the GOP can promise not to repeal that provision.

3. The debate has focused attention on free market solutions to problems in the health care insurance system. Shame on the GOP for not tackling the issue when they had majorities. However, this debate provides the intellectual ammunition needed to carry on the debate. We may need to eventually repeal the bill bit by bit; having substitute free market mechanisms to solve the real problems with health insurance will be necessary to make it palatable.

Look forward to carrying on this discussion.

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