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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is no bill better than a bad bill? Or is it the other way around?

by folkbum

I ask because those seem to be the choices related to health care in Congress, and Left Blogistan is split on the subject.

Here's my problem: I am not a big fan of the individual mandate in the bill, particularly one that is divorced from any purchase option other than from the Usual Suspects in the (mostly) for-profit insurance industry. If you're going to require that people buy insurance, then you should at least make sure that they have the widest possible array of options. The public option, or the FEHB-style plan that was being floated just last week, provides a bit of amelioration against the problems that could be created by the individual mandate.

On the other hand, I think I side with the always-practical Nate Silver, that This Is The Only Chance We Have. Seriously; it took a year to get to this point, the point of a really crappy bill and a thoroughly fragmented base and Congress. Starting over will not get a bill passed next year in the moments before mid-terms. And make no mistake: In the next Congress, Democrats will not have majorities of the size it does today, even factoring in Lieberman and Nelson. If we don't pass a bill now, it will be maybe another 15 years of spiraling costs and exploding numbers of uninsured, and that's just not conscionable to me.

So I think I come down on the side of a bad bill being a better than no bill at all. Pass this, work on making better as soon and as often as possible, and at least get the ball of reform moving a little bit.

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