Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Brooks Gets One Right


The Republicans have lived for decades in mortal fear that the Democratic Party would create an effective national healthcare system, true universal medical coverage. Fortunately for them, the Democratic Party is intent upon passing a horribly defective bill that, in what seems to be its most likely form, is likely to be both ineffective and extremely unpopular. David Brooks observes,
Republicans are going to oppose this health care bill. Oppose, oppose, oppose. And I can half understand where they are coming from. The Democratic approach does involve a lot of government control. Moreover, it is very likely that many Congressional districts that are now Democratic will turn Republican as a result of backlash against the bill. It’s hard to ask a party to punch a gift horse in the mouth.
I'm not sure what he means by "a lot of government control", but I do think he's correct that the Baucus bill (even the "new and improved" proposal) is likely to create a significant backlash among people who are forced to buy bad insurance policies or pay a penalty. Whether people get stuck with useless, overpriced insurance, or pay a penalty to avoid having to spend even more on that useless insurance policy, they're going to be angry.

Something that impresses Brooks leaves me unimpressed:
Fourth, Republicans have all along said that the bill should not make our fiscal situation worse. The Congressional Budget Office says the Baucus bill is deficit neutral over the first 10 years and would save money over the next 10. The C.B.O. number may not take into account the various political inevitabilities. Still, that’s pretty darn impressive.
We're back in the mode of trying to create a bill that's "everything to everyone", and thereby undermining every logical goal of true healthcare reform in the name of being "deficit neutral."

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