Here’s what health care reform means: stabilizing for millions of Americans one of the verities of human existence (illness), and without ballooning deficits. This is how the Democrats are about to drive the Republican Party into irrelevancy, by delivering the goods. And I think Republicans know it. They need an insecure constituency to stoke their fears. A comfy population with real baseline securities (like health care) is less likely to turn reactionary in times of recession, terrorism, or other forms of turmoil. That’s why the Republican Party is fighting so hard against health care. It’s not Barack Obama’s Waterloo. It’s the Republican Party’s.
Keep running, Barack. The hapless Republicans are about to discover that they haven’t defeated their nemesis, but themselves.
I hope I’m wrong and you’re right and this health care thing turns out great. I just don’t think so though…
On balance, my bet is that this is going to prove popular: people will like not having to worry, if they switch jobs, what to do about health care. And if you ever get a really devestating illness, you won’t have the anxiety that your insurance company will try a fine print legal maneuver to remove you from your health insurance coverage. These are things that people will notice, and they’ll wonder why these kinds of sensible reforms were blocked so persistently by Republicans.
I don’t want socialism in America, but I also don’t want a population rendered so insecure (in terms of no collective safety net) that they become psychologically vulnerable to fear-mongering in times of terrorism or recession. I think that reactionary and authoritarian politics accompany insecurity. A minimum safety net helps keep a democratic republic functioning and resistent to far right (or left) demogogues. If you’re relatively comfortable, you tend not to demonize others or find extremism attractive.
Thus I think health care reform is a twofer: people who are sick will get help, and the country as a whole will get some innoculation against authoritarian fear politics.