Health Care

After the SOU, I dinged Obama severely for non-feasance, combining hot air and too much caution.  Tonight’s passage of the Senate Health Care Bill, never mind the unfinished business of the amendments,  goes a long way to redeeming his administration; it’s a wonderful accomplishment and it doesn’t do to fuss now about how it could have been even better.

I don’t take back a word of what I said back then, because the presidency since January has been a completely different operation; he is doing exactly what I (and others) said he should do and it’s working.  I bet he, and his inner circle of advisors, have learned a lot about stepping up and taking charge, and we can look forward to a spring and summer of very different, and a lot less disappointing, Obamocracy before the midterms.

But let us now especially praise Nancy Pelosi, with whipped cream and a cherry on top, whose repeated reelection proves people in the Bay Area are not hopelessly nuts, and who is so good at what she does, including not just thinking and strategy but also putting steel in the backbone of the president and lots of others, men and women, that it’s just a delight to watch.  She and Joan of Arc, 120 years from now of course, will have a great time in the ladies’ lounge of heaven telling war stories and exchanging tricks to get men in charge to mount their damn horses and lead.

What an excellent day of wallowing in political process and punditry it has been.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

13 thoughts on “Health Care”

  1. My sentiments exactly. We need more of THIS Obama. Any argument that this somehow hurts the Dems in November is laughable. Nothing would hurt more than to say "we've been in control for two years, and we have nothing to show for it."

  2. I'm running for First Skunk at this garden party. I think this is a huge missed opportunity to reorganize how we do health care, and puts us on the path to more of the same, but more expensively done. It will be very hard to change it, unless the Reeps actually get it repealed. A historical analogy to the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage act of 88 seems plausible, as does an anology to the (Mike, your remarks about sprawl and preferences seem useful here:… disastrous choices we have made in allowing people to deduct their mortgage interest from their taxable income. I'm a big believer in path dependence, and this is a path which looks bad to me. I hope I'm wrong. Meanwhile:

    Dave Schutz for First Skunk!

  3. And now we get to find out how much was paid out to buy the votes. I'm guessing Stupak and company didn't really switch sides for just a promise of a worthless executive order, but what DID they get?

    Again, enjoy the carnage this fall, you worked for it. I hear next you're going to cram immigration 'reform' down the public's throat; Maybe the Republicans CAN retake both chambers, if you keep this up.

  4. "Maybe the Republicans CAN retake both chambers, if you keep this up."

    Right. Our countries problems are not that we only had just over a year of Democratic leadership, its that we didn't have just over 9 years of Republican leadership.

    Cry me a river.

  5. "I hear next you’re going to cram immigration ‘reform’ down the public’s throat"

    This image says way too much about conservatives' inner lives and anxieties for my taste.

    Anyway, I hope that they do go for immigration reform. Substantively, I think it's good policy. But more importantly, I think it will be extremely entertaining to watch the Republican party try to appease the Know Nothings in its coalition without alienating it's financial base by appearing obviously racist (or worse from the perspective of the financial base, anti-cheap labor). I expect it to be hilarious to watch actually.

    So my slogan: Immigration reform–do it for the laughs!

  6. Seconding Leo – fear of being 'an*l probed' by Latino aliens there, Brett?

    In the meantime, we won and you lost, so eat it.

  7. Brett, nah. We're not f*cking stupid, and we know the general shape of mid-term elections. But lie away – I'd have for you to strain yourelf with the truth.

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