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MA election/Health Care Reform COMMENTARY
January 25, 2010 at 3:16 pm #90046
Interesting Commentary from a relatively red state…
From San Antonio Newspaper: http://bit.ly/4V1Tb4
Author: Froma Harrop
The miracle in Massachusetts was made possible through a bigger miracle four years ago. That’s when the commonwealth became the first and so far only state to guarantee near-universal coverage. The Republican winner of the Senate seat long held by Ted Kennedy, Scott Brown, voted for the legislation as a state senator. In vowing to be the key 41st vote against the Democrats’ health care reforms, Brown carefully added that Massachusetts voters should not worry about their own health care security: They already have it through the state program.
Thus, Massachusetts was the worst state in which to test the wider public’s feelings about national health care reform. Polls showed people in Massachusetts, as elsewhere, unhappy with the legislation in Washington. But those numbers include many who thought the reforms too weak or were simply disgusted by the legislative sausage-making. And whether these proposals were better than nothing is a meaningless question to people who already have something.
The foes of health reform have long used a divide-and-conquer strategy in crafting an anti-reform coalition. They pit those who have government-guaranteed health care, such as the elderly, against those who don’t. Rest assured that if there were no Medicare, the older folk with tea bags stapled to their hats would be on the other side of the barricades. Medicare is the most socialized element of the American health care system.
Similarly, the damp enthusiasm in Massachusetts for the reforms coming out of D.C. belies the popularity of the state reforms enacted in 2006. A Brown supporter told a reporter: “Why should we have to pay again when we have health care?”
Unlike the legislation in Congress, the Massachusetts plan made virtually no effort to contain spiraling health care costs. That makes the Massachusetts health care plan, which Brown still supports, far less conservative than the national version he opposes.
But despite the program’s unexpected costs — despite its individual mandate to obtain coverage or face a fine — the Massachusetts program retains solid backing at home. Once people realize that whatever happens to their job, whatever dire disease befalls a family member, they can get medical care without having to sell their house, they won’t let anyone take it away.
So there’s no talk of repealing the Massachusetts program, but of bringing it back to the lab for repair. The state has already cut benefits and raised taxes. A special commission is now urging a move away from expensive fee-for-service health care and to a model that would pay groups of doctors and hospitals fixed sums to cover the patient for a year.
Politically, the Massachusetts program could serve as a national model. Pass universal coverage now, fix it later.
Even though their reforms are superior, Democrats in Washington could have done better still by not trying to please everyone. If you don’t have the courage of your convictions, it doesn’t matter whether your party has 59 or 60 or 65 seats in the Senate. Under President Bush, Republicans got whatever they wanted with 50 senators.
The Democrats remind me of King Lear. Having given away his land, the source of kingly power, Lear turns to his fool for amusement and threatens to whip him. “I am better than thou art now,” responds the cheeky fool, who like all Shakespeare fools, has everything figured out. “I am a fool; thou art nothing.”
January 25, 2010 at 3:53 pm #90048
Thats what I think too Henry. We need to go back to Universal Coverage.
Massachusets is a poor example of the mood of the country. Most of the anger that I see (and I purposefully engage people for thier oppinions) is not anger at Obama from Republicans particularly, although there are still a lot of racial jabs. Its the Democrats who are pissed off.
The anger with the health care bill and the reason there is no support for it is that the bill has been watered down and they simply keep going on it and caving in on one thing after another.
The Other and more potent part of the Anger we keep seeing is against the Banks, Insurance Companies, and big business in general. The people feel like they are sufferring because these fat cats have looted the treasury. We are after all, one of the richest most powerful countries on earth. Why are we all broke?
It is easy to confuse the two, but there are two different sources of anger.
I keep hearing the Republican Pundits saying that this is a revival of Republicans – dont bet on it. At least here in SD there is going to be a back lash against Republicans. I’m not even sure Stephanie Herseth can get re-elected after embracing the ‘Blue Dogs’.
I think the voters want a lot more change, and the kind of change they want is not going to be good for Republicans or Big Business. Its time to rein them in.
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