Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jonathan Cohn's How They Did It

Last week, I told you about this amazingly detailed, insider story of how health reform came to be, against all odds. Jonathan Cohn is one of the best writers on health care in America, and this five-part article doesn't disappoint. He says succinctly what I have believed for months:

Back at the White House, Obama watched the results with staff, exchanging hugs and high fives when it was all over. In a press conference just before midnight, he announced, “This is what change looks like.”

To plenty of Americans, that was precisely the problem. The process of passing the law seemed ugly—there was plenty of “business as usual”—and the final product has flaws, too. The new law will not cover everybody, and, in the near future, neither the government nor the country will be spending less money on medical care. But it will mean insurance coverage for an additional 32 million people, as well as more reliable coverage for people who already have it. The extra spending it will require is a rounding error, and, within a few years, health care costs will be rising more slowly than they would have otherwise. History shows that, over time, we tend to make these laws better—by amending them with new legislation and strengthening them with regulation, something the Obama administration has already begun. As Senator Tom Harkin memorably put it in December, health care reform isn’t a mansion. It’s a starter home, with a solid foundation, a strong roof, and room for expansion.

I strongly urge you to read the entire article here. It's a fascinating take on how Washington works (and doesn't). And it reminds you of how great a victory health reform truly was and will be if we implement it consistent with Congressional intent, as we should. Jennifer

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