The healthcare reform issue took a giant step forward last weekend, when the Senate agreed to debate the issue. Although things are a bit quieter now, no doubt in part to the Thanksgiving weekend, it is but a momentary lull.
President Obama is putting the weight of the presidency behind this effort and expending a great deal of political capital. For better or worse, healthcare reform could very likely be the legacy of his Presidency.
I fear that future generations will not view it as a good legacy. Here’s why. First, a large majority of citizens are happy with their existing healthcare. Yes, they would like it to cost less and require less paperwork and red tape, but they are essentially pleased with it. Second, a slight majority feel that the plans and ideas being bandied about are going to make their healthcare situation worse.
That’s a recipe for disaster. A majority of people are basically happy and fear “reform” as making things worse.
Aside from this, there are two other concerns. Has there ever been a government initiative that didn’t end of costing more that expected or promised? (When social security was rolled out, it was promised that the withholding would never go above 1 percent—now it’s more than five times that.) Second, when has the government ever made something simpler? Yes, I am sure that there are some examples where legislation did cost less or did make things simpler, but does anyone truly think that will happen with healthcare? I don’t.
To me that is three strikes against the current healthcare reform efforts:
making it worse—strike 1,
costing more—strike 2, and
failing to simplify—you’re out!