Friday, December 18, 2009

Krugmann Says 'Pass The Bill'

The Great Shrill One this morning writes this to disappointed progressives like me:

But let’s all take a deep breath, and consider just how much good this bill would do, if passed — and how much better it would be than anything that seemed possible just a few years ago. With all its flaws, the Senate health bill would be the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare, greatly improving the lives of millions. Getting this bill would be much, much better than watching health care reform fail.

At its core, the bill would do two things. First, it would prohibit discrimination by insurance companies on the basis of medical condition or history: Americans could no longer be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, or have their insurance canceled when they get sick. Second, the bill would provide substantial financial aid to those who don’t get insurance through their employers, as well as tax breaks for small employers that do provide insurance.

All of this would be paid for in large part with the first serious effort ever to rein in rising health care costs.

The result would be a huge increase in the availability and affordability of health insurance, with more than 30 million Americans gaining coverage, and premiums for lower-income and lower-middle-income Americans falling dramatically. That’s an immense change from where we were just a few years ago: remember, not long ago the Bush administration and its allies in Congress successfully blocked even a modest expansion of health care for children.

Yes, I agree with him that the bill is an improvement, and that the current rules of the American House of Lords are making the country ungovernable. I also agree with Atrios who has repeatedly said that we will not join the rest of the civilized world on this issue until the whole system of legalized corruption and lobbyist money that prevails in Washington (and in state capitals) ends.

Two cheers.


JCF said...

Le Sigh.

I'm sadly coming around to this position, too (and hence, NOT endorsing MoveOn's "Bernie Sanders must filibuster!" campaign).

As some pundit said: mediocre laws are frequently made BETTER, once passed.

Good laws, defeated, are never heard from again (Anyone heard of Richard Nixon's Guaranteed Minimum Income, lately? Defeated by DEMOCRATS, who refused to split the difference on the dollar amount? Nixon's 1973 amount, equates to several MULTIPLES of today's Poverty Level.)

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

A half-measure, but probably the best you can get the way things stand.

Counterlight said...


I feel the same way for the same reasons. I'm not at all happy about it. A tiny bit of something is always better than a whole lot of nothing.

I've never been able to endorse Madpriest's "all or nothing" view of things, for the simple reason that such a point of view ends up with nothing more often than not.