Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Health Care Inches On

The Senate Finance Committee approved a health care bill which will now go to the Senate.  The Republicans, even with Olympia Snowe, can't filibuster the bill.  The Democrats didn't need Snowe's vote in the Finance Committee but picking her up is interesting because if the GOP does try and filibuster, I think they can now count on her to kill it. But I'm not sure the GOP will even try that at this point.  What will be interesting is to see what other GOP Senators will jump on board with this bill.  Susan Collins, also from Maine, seems like she will also support the bill.  Will other GOP Senator's follow?  That all depends on where they live and if their state supports it.  Senators from the Midwest and Northeast who are Republicans may very well join Collins and Snowe... but remember they're doing this for political reasons. The bill has already been passed at this point... their votes will just be so they can go home and tell their constituents that they supported health care reform (and there may be a few Democrats who decide that they won't vote for the bill for the same reason).

I'm surprised there is so much resistance to health care reform in the US.  When, as the Wall Street Journal points out, Massachusetts reformed health care in their state things didn't go as planned, however this isn't a reason to NOT do anything.  Why?  Because health care costs are like a cancer in this country right now.  It will eat us from the inside out.  Something has to be done, and anyone who tells you other wise is basically rooting for America to fail.  Reform is never perfect, politics gets in the way of policy, but a step in the right direct is a good thing.  It may not be exactly what the left wants, and it's probably not what the right wants at all (though if they could tell me what they wanted that would be helpful and I'd actually allow them to enter the debate), but it should help to keep costs down.  Yet as pieces like this WSJ editorial show, the conservatives have yet to say what would be a better option, because doing nothing is the worst option on the table at the moment.

It looks like the fall of the dollar is going to be the next big "story" in the months to come, which is some what interesting because politically that falls into both Bush and Obama's lap.  Conservatives are going to try and pin as much government spending as they can on Obama, but he's only going to be responsible for some of it.  Much of it Obama inherited from George W. Bush, whose cut taxes and spend money ways helped create the financial bubble and put the government into major debt to begin with.  Plus, it was W who pushed and passed his own stimulus along with the (necessary) TARP bill last year. While they both don't equal what the Obama stimulus will end up costing, a half a trillion dollars is a lot of money for a Republican President to spend and try and blame on a Democrat.

Finally, not much of a policy issue but worth the mention.

No comments: