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The health care bill

Here’s where I’m at with the health care bill, Joe Lieberman, etc.

First, Ezra Klein has persuaded me that the Senate should pass it.  The bill is enormous and complicated, so along with most other people I’m looking for proxy indicators of the bill’s worth.  Klein is a credible proxy for me, because he reads the text and because he’s lived and breathed health policy for a long time.  Because this bill combines a universal mandate with regulations forbidding insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of preexisting conditions, it is worth enacting now.  Please allow Ezra to convince you, too.  Try this and this and this and this.

Second, although Joe Lieberman is worthy of scorn and derision, let’s not get distracted.   There are plenty of good-for-nothing sellouts in the Senate, which we will easily recall once we’ve stopped hyperventilating over Lieberman.  None of the Republicans lifted a finger to make this bill any better.  Lieberman, as repellent as he is, is just another potential vote, and votes are votes, even if the person that casts them turns your stomach.  I will concede, however, that Joe Lieberman is particularly loathsome in his own special way.  Even the cool and rational Ezra Klein sounds disgusted.

Third, although Klein and Paul Krugman have persuaded me, it’s a close, close call.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if I’ve been duped and Howard Dean had it right all along.  Klein had better be right about the restrictions on the insurance companies, and about the likelihood that getting this passed will make it easier to come back later and fix things.  The government is about to require me to pay a private company a lot of money, and that scares me way more than a tax increase for government services does.

But the reasons for that, dear readers, deserve their own post.  Stay tuned.

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