September 28, 2009
ROBERT SAMUELSON: Health Care As An Exercise in Ego Gratification:
What’s driving the great health debate of 2009 is not a popular clamor for universal insurance. “Many Americans are balking again at the prospect of health care reform,” writes pollster Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center. A new Wall Street Journal poll found 41 percent of respondents opposed to President Obama’s proposals and 39 percent in favor (the rest were undecided). The underlying driver is politicians’ psychological quest for glory. . . . Americans worried about this legislation may not know its details or may even be misinformed. Still, their skepticism is justified. Grandiose rhetoric obscures unflattering reality. The proposals don’t force the major structural changes in the delivery system that might curb uncontrolled health spending, which is the central problem. The bills Congress is now considering might marginally improve Americans’ health but would worsen the federal budget outlook and squeeze other public and private spending. Whatever bragging rights result will quickly erode in the face of the health system’s continuing problems.
Yeah, my prediction is that if it passes it’ll be like the Iraq war — in five or ten years most of the people who voted for it will be pretending otherwise. Hell, they’ll probably find a way to blame Bush . . . .