What Now?

After the health care bill’s passage, the forces of plutocracy will not be complacent. Will we?

Maybe we have a day or so to celebrate.  Maybe.

John Kyl has already promised to try to kill the reconciliation bill with endless amendments.

John Cornyn has telegraphed the GOP strategy for November.  Try to kill the bill in crib:

“The question you’re going to see Republicans asking in November is, ‘Have your health insurance costs gone down?’ ” Mr. Cornyn said. “And I think the answer to that is going to be no.”

Ross Douthat claims that unless the health care bill satisfies the most optimistic projections, then it will show the bankruptcy of liberalism and our “rendezvous with a bankrupt, Californian future” (conveniently ignoring conservatives’ responsibility for the Californian present).

Thomas Donahue of the US Chamber of Commerce pledges to to keep opposing the health care measure “through all available avenues — regulatory, legislative, legal and political.”

The forces of plutocracy are not giving up, and it is easy for them.  When you represent the interests of the wealthy and powerful, you tend to have access to a lot of wealth and power.

By all means, let’s celebrate, and as Mark suggests, say a “Shehechianu” for this moment.  And then: back into the trenches.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

8 thoughts on “What Now?”

  1. Jonathan, could you please reprint the list of Dems who voted 'yes' at the last moment? Right now, that list is scattered through several posts.

  2. The whole point of the plan is that it doesn't mess with your insurance. If you've got employer-based health care now, you'll have the same plan in November. If that really going to be the talking point? That your premiums haven't gone down?

  3. "Ross Douthat claims that unless the health care bill satisfies the most optimistic projections, then it will show the bankruptcy of liberalism"

    Well of course the way to solve this is to DAMN WELL DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE COST DRIVERS.

    I've commented many times on some obvious ways to do this. For example

    – an alternative medical training and certification path whose sole concern is whether professionals who what they need to know (as opposed to the AMA whose primary concern is throttling the number of professionals so that limited supply maintains high salaries)

    – easy green cards for foreign medical professionals who want to move to the US

    – alternative ways to finance medical education. What is especially poisonous about the US system is that anyone leaving med school with $250,000+ in debt naturally has, as their first priority, to get the highest salary possible. But, once that debt is paid off, a practitioner has come to feel that their salary (initially justified in terms of med school debt) is now their's by right. Additionally, of course, this system ends any chance that many medical professionals will, when first out of school and full of do-gooder enthusiasm, spend a year or three helping the poor somewhere.

    There seems no PRINCIPLED reason why all three of these reforms not be passed tomorrow — they are all good on policy grounds.

    I personally have long opposed this bill on the grounds that it simply freezes a stupid and unsustainable status quo, rather than actually changing what needs to be changed. The supporters of the bill claim it is merely the first step in improving the system. OK, let's see them put their money where their mouth is and get on with some more steps. Because right now, the primary step I see is the step that drastically increases insurance company victims; with fsckall of the step that reduces medical costs.

  4. Well, one thing is guaranteed; 90% of those with current individual insurance will see their premiums go up. (That's an intended and explicit consequence of banning underwriting.)

  5. "The whole point of the plan is that it doesn’t mess with your insurance. If you’ve got employer-based health care now, you’ll have the same plan in November."

    ??? Excuse me, my plan has a lifetime limit on payout, the ban on this kicks in immediately. Hence it is dishonest to say that I'll still have the same plan in November. You can't mandate changes, and claim there won't be changes. Unless maybe you've got a split personality.

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