Tuesday, August 26, 2008

After the Obama Health Care Reform

On a panel yesterday, Paul Krugman hammered home his main message: it is vital that President Obama make universal health care a priority. People love Medicare and they will love universal health care once it's in place--after just a year, he said.

I agree 100% that for universal health care to have any chance of passing, Obama will have to put his effort at full throttle, starting before Inauguration Day. The forces of opposition--chiefly, the the health care lobbyists--are already sharpening their knives to kill the proposal. Unlike Krugman, I don't think it will be such easy swimming after the program's in place. Once government has taken a heavier role, people will blame Washington for everything about their health care that they don't like, and the Republicans will keep trying to roll it back for years. This will be a long, tough fight, especially with the imperfect and complex managed-care-for-some program that Obama wants to install. Even if he succeeds, most people will continue to see their health care bills rise (although perhaps not by as much), they'll look for someone to blame, and government will be the scapegoat.

1 comment:

MattYoung said...

When Congress takes on this task, it will first avoid any rationing. The deficit will balloon, just like Medicare balloons in the out years, and just like the Mass. deficit ballooned the first years(and continues to balloon).

There will be serious deficit growth until the next election cycle, at best, so expect at least a four to eight year equilibrium cycle until rationing is in place, at which time Congress will be taken up with the task of monitoring rationing or downsizing the program.

And there is the rub, Congress will be required to manage this thing, and Congress will run through representatives and senators for a long time trying to manage who does or does not get the limited resource.

Krugman is not willing to address rationing (other wise known as efficiency). If Paul would explain how the US Congress can manage rationing, I would listen.