Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Pass the Senate Bill
On January 20, I wrote a long-winded post providing my "sober analysis" of the Massachusetts Senate race. My conclusion was that the only viable option on health reform is for the House to pass the Senate bill. Yesterday, a prominent voice joined the drumbeat. As noted in The Hill, former Senator Tom Daschle, the almost-Secretary of Health and Human Services, called on House Democrats to do the same. “You could argue that there is just as much political downside to not to pass this than to pass this,” Daschle said. He is right. But more importantly, it is good policy. As I have said before, the bill is far from perfect, but it will meet the moral imperative of covering 30 million individuals who now lack health insurance in the richest nation in the world. And it will start us down the long and necessary road of transforming our healthcare system. Saying "no" is easy. And there are many naysayers. Some say it does not do enough to bend the cost curve. They are right. But doing nothing is worse and will almost-certainly lead to implosion of the system. Moreover, the bill does plant many important seeds (via PILOT programs) to start to bend that curve. So it is a start we can build on. The House should have the courage to say yes. It is harder than saying no, but it will pay dividends for generations.