Monday, March 22, 2010

Historical Beginning or the End of the World as We Know It?

A very neutral headline greeted Kansas City Star readers this morning. What happened late yesterday evening in the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. was indeed historic. However, whether it was bad or good, or somewhere in between was definitely up for debate.

This bill, 2,000 plus pages long, full of compromises and gifts, and including some fairly unexamined language concerning the future of student loans, should have been walked to the shredder and deposited therein, after its initial failure. However, it was not, and by the barest of margins, has been forwarded to the president for signing.

Listening to the left, this is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and merely the first act. Listening to the right, this is the end of the world as we know it, the gateway to socialism or worse. I look at it as a budget buster, a bill that never addressed the problem of costs themselves, and the way to mediocrity, stagnation and lack of innovation in the fields of health care and medicine.

There are large philosophical issues standing behind all the rhetoric: is access to health care without regard to financial issues a right under the Constitution? What is the balance between allowing people to stand/fail on their own verses the government stepping in to take over? How about how much of "other people's money" do we spread around? Where are we finding that "O.P.M." anyway? This bill was a mess, too big, running in too many directions. I wish we had done better. I wish we had done smaller to start.

From The Wall Street Journal editorial page, March 22, 2010
While the passage of ObamaCare marks a liberal triumph, its impact will play out over many years. We fought this bill so vigorously because we have studied government health care in other countries, and the results include much higher taxes, slower economic growth and worse medical care. As for the politics, the first verdict arrives in November.

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