Moving forward on healthcare, eventually

From the New York Times – “In truth, the law is quite moderate. It is more conservative than President Bill Clinton’s 1993 plan or President Richard Nixon’s 1974 plan (in which the federal government would have covered anyone who wasn’t insured through an employer). It’s much more conservative than expanding Medicare to cover everyone. It is clearly one of the least radical ways for the United States to end its status as the only rich country with millions and millions of uninsured.”

Richard Nixon?

Count me among the group of people who didn’t think that the law went far enough.  The lack of a public option weakened the law by providing no competition to private insurers.  This law does not work without the mandate and I think we’ll find people paying more than they should have to in order to avoid the penalty for not participating in the system.   Still, the healthcare law is a huge step forward for this country and the President and the Congress (by Congress,  I mean the Democrats who did something other than say NO) have never received the proper credit for what they accomplished.

Once the shouting is done and the court challenges are over, I think we’ll find that the majority of people in this country will support the healthcare law.  It hasn’t even fully taken effect yet.  If the history of the social safety tells us anything, it’s that Americans, on balance, become pretty comfortable with changes that a few years before we supposed to unravel the fabric of our capitalist society.  One of the most incongruous moments (and it was a moment that kept repeating itself) over the past year with the tea party was watching a protester shout about the evils of “Obamacare” while defending their medicare or social security benefits.

Given the opportunity to understand the things that move us forward, and the healthcare law does,  we will support them.  The President and Congress (not the upcoming 112th Congress, but hopefully the 113th) will strengthen the law, tweak it, and make it work.  There will always be a principled opposition, much like there is with Social Security, Medicare, et al, but they will be a small group that will eventually come to represent the fringe.  And we’ll look back on this and think, why?

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