Paul Krugman divides everyone in the political class into three categories, the enemy:
For conservatives, of course, it’s an easy decision: They don’t want Americans to have universal coverage, and they don’t want President Obama to succeed.
people of good will, i.e. members of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party:
For progressives, it’s a slightly more difficult decision: They want universal care, and they want the president to succeed — but the proposed legislation falls far short of their ideal. There are still some reform advocates who won’t accept anything short of a full transition to Medicare for all as opposed to a hybrid, compromise system that relies heavily on private insurers. And even those who have reconciled themselves to the political realities are disappointed that the bill doesn’t include a “strong” public option, with payment rates linked to those set by Medicare.
and collaborators with the enemy:
The people who really have to make up their minds, then, are those in between, the self-proclaimed centrists.
I won’t try to psychoanalyze the “naysayers,” as Mr. Orszag describes them. I’d just urge them to take a good hard look in the mirror. If they really want to align themselves with the hard-line conservatives, if they just want to kill health reform, so be it. But they shouldn’t hide behind claims that they really, truly would support health care reform if only it were better designed.
David Herszenhorn and Robert Pear, writing in a New York Times blog, take a somewhat less rosy view of the bills:
So what does the House health care bill really cost?
Throughout Thursday, news accounts, including our own, focused on $894 billion, the total cost given out by aides to the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, before the official cost analysis was released by the Congressional Budget Office.
But a closer look at the budget office report suggests that the number everyone should have reported was $1.055 trillion, which is the gross cost of the insurance coverage provisions in the bill before taking account of certain new revenues, including penalties by individuals and employers who fail to meet new insurance requirements in the bill.
I’m not a member of the political class or a person of any influence but I’d divide things a little differently than Dr. Krugman does. I sincerely believe that more people should be able to obtain and afford healthcare. But I think that the only responsible way to do that is by reform in the system that effects cost reduction. Passing a healthcare bill that costs more than we can reasonably afford and is only paid for by assuming unachievable cuts in Medicare, a bill that its proponents are proposing to pass with a scant majority completely composed of Democrats and which may well be overturned by a future Congress is not a sincere attempt at extending coverage. It is merely counting coup.