Monday, March 22, 2010

Lessons from Last Night

Finally, we'll have rudimentary health-care reform! As I so often ask my boys, "What can we learn from this?" I suggest:
  • Worst Fears. Many Republicans and all corporations-over-people types are right. This is only the beginning. Within a decade, such key work as forcing drug companies, hospitals, doctors and insurers to justify costs and stop profiteering on the public will be in earnest. That's when health-care as a percent of income will drop.
  • Run Ahead Now. This 2010 mid-term election is the right's only chance. They'd better grab every Congressional seat they can. When the public sees first how benign this reform is and projects its benefits, the Republican fantasy of a quick return to power will evaporate like water on a hot griddle. They've simply run out of disproved lies and failed predictions.
  • Girded Loins. Over in the Senate, Harry Reid is still a milquetoast, but in the House, Nancy Pelosi, and nearby Barack Obama seemed to have lost their squeaks. Both have been and will continue to be emboldened by accomplishment and the power of courage. We should expect more powerful and meaningful legislation.
This reform move is at once decades overdue and a fine foundation for a building that needs tremendous work. We should keep in mind that it was possible only because of the foolish and unmitigated (and underregulated) greed of the insurers and medical community. They figuratively bleed those they arrogantly claimed to protect.

Now comes the latest version of the scary fairy tales from the right. The NY Times editorial on the bill passage gives a nice rundown of the reform's benefits and how we can expect GOP pols to lie about them. Short term, they can pretend this will increase the deficit, while it surely will do the opposite. Even after reality yet again shows them liars, they closest they are apt to come to apology or cleaning up their dishonorable ways will be to claim that conditions have changed or even more absurdly that they forced tweaks that made thing better.

The true pathos here is that the Congressional Republicans (with a few DINOs, like my Rep. Stephen Lynch, who needs to go down to defeat) voted against the reform. That is, in the face of this incredible health-care crisis and chronic malaise, they spit on the public. In some misguided display of party solidarity, they would vote only to stymie Dems and not to help the public.

This is a thorny, verminous, filthy bed they have made for themselves. They had best get what advantage they can this year. All but the most delusional of the voters will see how horribly wrong they were before 2012. They stand on the public stage with unbelievable, repetitive dialog.

They need a new script. It should include a lot less praise of the worst corporations and a lot more care of Americans.

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