Everyone benefited last night. Even all the screaming, spitting Tea Partiers. Because now their coverage won't be cancelled if they fall seriously ill, or run against a lifetime coverage limitation if that illness becomes extended. My lifelong experience of observing politics is that liberal-progressives want to help even people who don't want their help, even at a cost to themselves, while conservatives want to put limits on both rights and opportunity for everyone they disagree with in the name of preserving their own rights and opportunities. Healthcare reform has been an amazing illustration of this principle in point.
As conservative commentator David Frum notes in one the articles linked below, this HCR initiative is rather similar to Republican plans from decades past. Yet to hear our Republican friends tell it, this is a Socialist millstone that will sink the Republic. The politics of this have been beastly, funded and driven by an effort to unseat Obama, as much as any actuality of healthcare. The people protesting this will benefit as much as the rest of us, for all the bill's flaws.
The left, such as it is, tries to talk policy, the right talks politics. And politics makes for better soundbites, angrier voters, and ultimately stronger electoral returns.
We lost a lot here. Single payer would have solved so much of the healthcare spending issues. (Quick quiz, what percentage of private healthcare spending goes to processing costs and profit margin? What percentage of Medicare healthcare spending goes to processing costs and profit margin?) The public option would have been a decent compromise, if nothing else through a Medicare buy-in. But those things can come into play over time, once people see this bill isn't a 'poison pill', but something that benefits them and their families personally, regardless of their political views.
We may still lose ground here. I imagine there will be hundreds of court challenges, some from politically ambitious Red State attorneys general, others from the Orly Taitz wing of the conservative nuthouse. Some challenges might even have substance on the merits, though I'll be surprised. And much of the long-term success of HCR depends on not having a massive string of bills overturning it pieces in the next few years.
Still, today, I woke up in a world where my healthcare funding won't be terminated because of lifetime coverage limitations, or because I am too sick. I woke up in a world where I can change jobs without sentencing myself to death from the disqualifying pre-existing condition of metastatic colon cancer. I woke up in a world where a major liberal-progressive idea has gained a significant foothold.
And that idea will benefit every American, even those who willfully misunderstand it, and hate it with a screaming passion. That's what good political ideas are all about. Benefiting everyone.
Meanwhile, some linkage:
Health Vote Caps a Journey Back From the Brink — How Speaker Pelosi brought HCR back from the dead.
Tea Party Protesters Shout The N-Word At, Spit On Passing Legislators — More on this. The Sarah Palin cite in this piece is especially trenchant. Ah, the classness of conservatives.
Waterloo — Conservative David Frum on HCR. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994. Definitely sounds like screaming socialism, doesn't it? In other news, Republican lawmaker says of this same plan, "We believe that this is the beginning of the end of America." Hyperbole much?
In Case You Missed Obama's Health Speech Saturday Afternoon — Political capital, and the expending thereof. I do significantly disagree with one of Fallows' closing statements, "I support it, because it is a step toward the principle that for society's benefit and for individual protection, everyone should be insured." Actually, everyone should have access to healthcare. Insurance is just a mechanism. Healthcare is the issue. There are other ways to deliver and fund it.
A look at the healthcare overhaul bill — Might have been nice if the media had spent more time on this and less on people screaming about death panels and socialism. For my part, I note "Starting this year, insurers would be forbidden from placing lifetime dollar limits on policies, from denying coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions, and from canceling policies because someone gets sick." That removes two of the several death sentences I've been living under. The market-based solution thought it was fine to cut me off to die once I'd received too much healthcare. Any wonder I favor government intervention? I wasn't willing to die for conservative beliefs about the free market, thank you.