Saturday, October 30, 2010

Healthcare Reform in... Year Three?

Michael Tomasky writes,
[President Obama went too far to the left by] Doing healthcare reform before the economy was improving. I've written this before. It signaled to middle-of-the-road voters that he was more interested in fulfilling some historical liberal wish list than in addressing their most immediate concern. May or may not be fair, but it's what happened. I said at a talk I gave in Charleston, WV in December 2008 that healthcare should wait until the economy was better, like year three.
Well, the economy may be limping but it has improved since Obama took office. It's neither clear that the Obama Administration could have obtained a larger stimulus package or, had it done so, that the economy would be markedly improved over its present state.

I've said this before, but I guess it bears repeating: What are the odds that even the watered down, corporate friendly healthcare reform bill that the Dems passed would have passed, had Obama waited until year three? What are the odds that it would even get out of committee in the House of Representatives?

I've made this point before, also: Politicians should spend more time governing and less time worrying about reelection (or how much money they'll be able to make as lobbyists should they lose or retire), and more time governing. Had the Dems set aside their worries about whether corporations and their lobbyists were happy with the healthcare bill, or were opposed to a climate bill, or about right-wing fear mongering over immigration reform, we would have a better healthcare reform bill, and should have significantly better energy and immigration policy. You can argue that things still might not be better for the Dems coming into this election, but it's difficult to imagine that things would be worse. And in the longer term, things could have been better for the country.


  1. I'll concede most of your points - but I don't know that there is anybody out there (then or now) pushing for what you or I would call a "good" (aka Canadian style but with less human rights emphasis) immigration policy.


  2. A "good" immigration policy won't fix everything - there's no clear consensus. But it could fix some problems - beginning with documenting the undocumented. Not necessarily to grant formal status, but just to find out whose here and who we might prioritize getting out of the country.

    Even G.W. wanted some form of "guest worker" program as an alternative to simply having millions of undocumented people in the country - and if you look at the cost and deportation and capacity of the present system we're literally decades away from deporting the population of undocumented immigrants presently in the U.S. - even if we pretend that additional people won't enter illegally or overstay. I suspect you could get bipartisan support for the DREAM Act, even in this environment.

    I also expect that if you were crass about it, "We want immigrants with advanced degrees, specialized knowledge and/or lots of money they're committed to investing" you could get a bipartisan bill expanding those categories for immigration.