Health reform is a test of whether this country can function once again as a civil society — whether we can trust ourselves to embrace the big, important changes that require everyone to give up something in order to make everyone better off. Republican leaders are eager to see us fail that test. We need to show them that no matter how many lies they tell or how many scare tactics they concoct, Americans will come together and get this done.
If health reform is to be anyone’s Waterloo, let it be theirs.
That column appears today, but it was written (and posted online) yesterday. It already needs correction.
Health reform could have been a test of whether we can trust ourselves to embrace the big, important changes. But the President himself seems to have already decided that we better not try to embrace the big, important changes. We better embrace lesser, more ineffective changes instead. Or to be precise, that’s what we better decide to aspire to.
Here’s Bloomberg with the latest piece of depressing news from the front lines of the battle to water down healthcare reform:
President Barack Obama may accept nonprofit health-insurance cooperatives in place of a new government-run plan as long as consumers are guaranteed more choice and competition in buying insurance, a top aide said.
“We would be interested in that” if those conditions are met, Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff” airing today.
Bloomberg helpfully reminds us that President Obama himself recently explained why a public plan is desirable:
That approach, Obama said, would be “one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices, and assure quality” as well as to “force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest.”
But, hey, why go with “one of the best ways” when one or two Republicans might possibly perhaps be willing to sign on to a distinctly inferior alternative? Everything is negotiable, apparently, except getting that golden seal of shallow and meaningless Republican approval.
DeParle said she expected Congress to pass health-care legislation on a bipartisan vote “around Thanksgiving.”
So we are to expect a thoroughly watered down bill to pass on a partisan vote around Thanksgiving? Very fitting; by current indications, it will be a real turkey. And thus will President Obama put a turkey in every pot, across the land.
And the legend of Obama will grow, as he fulfills campaign promises he didn’t even make.