Sunday, November 27, 2011

Paul Starr Op-Ed

The O linked to a Paul Starr Op-ed today.  A lot of it is a digest of Remedy and Reaction, but with some extra musing about the paring of Obama and Romney:
If former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and President Obama face off in the 2012 presidential campaign, America will witness the singular spectacle of two candidates getting very little love, and plenty of hate, for the same signature achievement: reforming health care.

Both overcame long odds to pass legislation, Romney in Massachusetts, Obama at the national level. Even the specifics of their reform laws are similar: Both include subsidies for private insurance, the establishment of insurance exchanges and a mandate for individuals to maintain a minimum level of coverage. Each man expected to reap credit for his effort. But neither has gotten political mileage out of it; in fact, both may have lost more ground than they picked up.

In another era, we might be celebrating the remarkable fact that both a Democratic president and a leading Republican challenger arrived at fundamentally the same approach to fixing our health-care system. That is not the America we live in now.
Worth reading.

If you wonder why enactment was delayed until 2014, Starr gave these reasons in R&R:
  • Delaying enactment reduced the CBO cost, which covers the next 10 calendar years
  • The decision to give states the responsibility for creating exchanges meant giving them time to enact legislation
  • IRS said it would be confusing and chaotic tax-wise if programs incepted mid year or inconsistently across states
  • Dems did not want enrollment occurring in Nov 2012 during election.  Medicare Part D blew up in someone's face in 2004(?).

 Starr implied that the real problem was Obama's failure to anticipate right wingers' willingness to turn on their own ideas in order to score political points.  That's what makes the prospect of a race between Obama and Romney so ironic.

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