Left Turns on Individual Mandate. This article examines how the Senate Health Care reform bill, introduced by Harry Reid, is quickly losing support from democrats due to changes made to the bill. Foster argues that because of the elimination of the public option, many democrats are turning on the bill becuase of the cost many middle class taxpayers will incur, and because it will force Americans to purchase insurance from the private sector, which is where the problem originated in the first place. Clearly Foster brings up a great point that due to the amendments the bill is taking on, it can no longer be passed due to the extreme condition it would leave many middle and lower class citizens. However, this still may not rule out passage of some sort of reform, as there is still the possibility of passing the bill, and ironing out the differences in conference committee of both houses.
This article shed light on a major issue surrounding healthcare reform, the time table Senator Reid set up. Senator Snowe says in this article that a political deadline doesn't translate into good policy and I think this is true. There should not be a deadline for healthcare reform if it is just to ensure that the Democrats remain the majority in the House and the Senate after the 2010 election year. Policy should be worked out until we have the best bill possible and clearly with the recent dropping of the public option a concrete bill is not in place. It would be incredibly difficult to correctly review the bill in two weeks time. The deadline of Christmas to get the healthcare bill through the Senate is a ridiculous hope. If a bill were to be passed by Christmas, it would not be a well thought-out bill because of all the flip flopping of items like the public option. If this bill is to pass in the Senate, it needs to be cohesive and not just be kicked through to meet a silly deadline.
Before reading this article I had no idea that an opt out option was even on the table for health care reform. Personally I feel that as a progressive state if Minnesota were to opt out it would be a major setback for the entire state not just the 875,000 Minnesotans who would be eligible to use the public option. If we opted out there would still be 519000 Minnesotans uninsured, and we would become a backwards state in the union. While I can see the points being made by republicans, I feel that if democrats let states opt out they are failing and leaving citizens behind. I also think if we opt out it will continue to put pressure on our health care providers as 519000 uninsured will still be using our facilities and we will still be footing their bills, and the bills for other states. I think this issue will make the race for governor very exciting, as it is not Tim Pawlenty who decides what to do, but the next governor. I also think that this issue really shows why it is important that we stay up to date on our state politics not just federal, as health care is especially an issue for the state.
I totally agree with Ezra Klein. I don't think that Rahm Emanuel really has any power over the moderates or the Republicans when it comes to health care reform. They are the ones who have all the power right now. The White House isn't going to try and flex muscle with these members when they all individually could completely block the entire health care reform, not just the public option. The President and major Democrats really just want to get some sort of reform and if they tried to twist anyone's arm that just wouldn't happen. Someone would filibuster the bill stopping any reform from happening. To be completely honest when it comes to health care I think its smart for the White House to not flex a lot of muscle.
This article does a good job of pointing out just how complicated healthcare reform is. There is the complexity of the bill (2000 plus pages of ways to improve healthcare), there is the fact that the bill is ever changing (most news days include some sort of change to the bill), and Boulton discusses how people's contradictory opinions make healthcare reform even more difficult.
The contradictory examples provided ("People are concerned about federal deficit, but think to little is spent on healthcare") mimic the contradictory attitudes about welfare we saw earlier in the year (people were supportive of spending more on the poor, but didn't want to spend more on welfare). The vacillation of the American public really makes it difficult to pass any legislation. Individuals, and their ambiguous opinions, make it hard for the government to form popular legislation. Congressmen will want to please their constituents, but if they get conflicting ideas, they will have a hard time getting anything accomplished.
However, I believe that by going ahead and implementing some of the pilot programs in the bill, we will, in some ways, force people to make up their minds. Boulton talked in the article about how Medicare had only been supported by 46% of the population when it was enacted, but now Medicare is a very popular program. By enacting some of the pilot programs suggested in the healthcare bill, we will be creating a change in healthcare. Maybe citizens won't like this change, but at least then we will know what not to try in the future - and maybe we could then implement the other side of their conflicting ideas.