Thursday, December 31, 2009

Herbert's Health

Bob Herbert joins the small yet growing list of people attacking ObamaCare from the left. I find it hard to believe, however, that the side he represents has the power (or guts) to bring down the health care bill, especially at this point.

The question is what sort of changes, if any, will the House make in the bill. If they move it too far toward where Herbert wants, it could make the bill unapalatable--to the Senate and the House itself (which both have plenty of politicians seeking cover). And I still don't believe the Democrats will allow the bill to die.


Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Herbert's article attacks the bill from the center-left. (If what he says is correct, then the bill will hurt middle class union workers, who are the Democratic Party's core consitutuency on the center-left.) I think the bill could be adjusted in Herbert's direction without losing many votes, although at this point losing even one would doom it.

This article gives a good critique from a solidly liberal/progressive perspective. To him, this "authoritarian liberal" bill "solv[es] the problem of the uninsured by using the coercive power of the federal government to force citizens to buy inadequate private insurance sold by oligopolies with their profits subsidized by taxpayer dollars." Which will be a correct description, if the fine for not buying insurance is put back to a huge figure ($5K, say). In that case, the insurance companies will actually profit, since their losses due to insuring those with "preexisting conditions" will be more than offset when all the healthy twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings are compelled to pay artificially high rates for insurance they don't want.

But if the fine stays at the current figure of $700, the young and healthy will choose the fine instead of insurance, and the insurance companies will go bankrupt -- or Congress will revise the bill. I think that Obama assumes the bill will be revisable. But I think he's wrong. In January 2011 there will be between 45 and 55 Republican Senators who will advocate outright repeal of the bill, not fixing it.

8:01 PM, December 31, 2009  
Blogger LAGuy said...

45 to 55 Republican Senators in 2011? 45 seems optimistic, so I don't know what to call 55.

11:29 PM, December 31, 2009  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

You're right; my math was bad. Hopefully it will be better in 2010.

1:35 PM, January 01, 2010  

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