Health Bill will live!!!

February 8, 2010

While it feels like 1994 (the year of the final demise of HillaryCare), I have it on good authority we will have a substantive health bill passed in this session. Careful readers may notice I am no longer referring to it as health reform. I’m not convinced the fundamental elements of the Senate bill constitutes health reform. I am convinced, however, that it contains a number of very important provisions that are needed to begin the process of more fundamental reform.

Robbie Stern (r) Jim McDermottOn Sunday 2/7, I attended a forum at Temple Beth Am (Seattle’s  Ravenna neighborhood) organized by the Healthy Washington Coalition. The forum featured Rep. Jim McDermott (D), who represents my district in congress. He was there to provide an update on the state of the national legislation and answer broader questions on health reform. Also at the forum was David Hanig who is a Senior Health Care Policy Analyst for the WA
State Senate Democratic Caucus.

The crux of the message Rep. McDermott brought with him was that he’s convinced there will be a bill this session just because there are the votes to get something done and to come away completely empty-handed would be too big a mistake to make. He also recounted the story of the ‘winner’ of the healthcare battle in the ‘90’s, Newt Gingrich. He paraphrased Newt in saying that the Republicans had to oppose the health care bill because to fail to do so would be to hand over the legislative branch to the Dems for another 40 years (like what happened after social security was passed in the 30’s). While no one wants to slap the ‘obstructionist’ label on every Republican. It is notable that they have put forth no comprehensive plans (yes, they have ideas around the margins, but no plan that strikes at the fundamental issues of universal coverage, perverse incentives and control of costs). So it looks like it’s the same tack all over again: make sure nothing gets done so the Dems can’t take credit for taking on any big challenges.

You don’t really ‘win’ in politics by just making sure the other guy can’t do the right thing for the country, can you? Of course you can, who am I kidding?

Waiting with great anticipation to see if any Republicans will show up at the televised healthcare debate.

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