Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Failing Health Care Reform Bill II- Overreaching Legislation.

The Democrats should have learned from Clinton’s experience that it is extremely difficult to adopt an comprehensive plan covering various subjects, all at the same time. One constituency may be concerned about by an isolated portion of the plan, but their best strategy is to oppose the entire package. Another segment may have entirely different concerns but they join in opposition in order to prevent their own interests from being adversely affected. Thus two groups with different interests combine to constitute a more formidable opposition.

That phenomenon is apparent in the case of health reform. Obama expressed shock that the insurance companies invested so much in their lobbying activities. Why not? Proposals such as the public option and single payer government insurance threatened their existence. I already mentioned the unions who suddenly became disaffected with the new taxes being assessed on the health plans they have proudly negotiated over the years.. The Medicare generation, which was betrayed by the NAARP, does not believe that their benefits will be secure. Even those who are approaching 65 have been hearing that they will not receive all the benefits now included in Medicare. Even the issue of the deficits is tied to self interest. Three quarters of the population are happy with the insurance they now have. Most likely they see the plan as a trillion dollar boondoggle for the benefit of some one other than themselves.

Clinton made the same mistake as Obama in attempting to take too big a bite at the apple, but he quickly retreated. If the Clintons had successfully sponsored a less ambitious plan, Obama could have built on what had been done and the Democrats might have had a significant trophy in their cabinet.

Sometimes overlooked is the fact that the most significant health care reform actually enacted was proposed by George W. Bush, who procured prescription drug benefits for the elderly. It certainly was not comprehensive, but it survived the scrutiny of a contentious congress.

Instead all the Democrats have done is generate a lot of hot air and, so far, have nothing to show for their work.

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