So, by now, you have received the note announcing the return of this blog and you have returned to find 3, yes THREE, blog posts waiting for you and your analysis. I am posting this Sunday night, and it will be shorter, mainly because the availability of information is sparse.
The Republicans, who have had 8 years, more or less, to battle against Obamacare, passing bill after bill to repeal it, secure in their knowledge that their bills would never become law, are having a time of it. They are finding out the dilemma of repealing a law that creates a program for millions. Call it an entitlement if you wish-- you could make the same argument with the capital gains tax, but once a program is in effect, and there is a continued constituency for it, the entire dynamic about repeal changes.
Abstraction in politics is wonderful at creation; deadly at repeal. It is great to describe the benefits of programs you make, to espouse their successes before they become successes, and to deny any harm they might do. No one can prove the effect of the program before it begins, and OMB reports are dry and easily ignored tens days past publication. Who cares, who pays attention?
But a face on a program, a name and a story about how the program removed, taken from the person, who now has a face, a family, a problem you can not only describe but see, well, that puts the process into limbo. And people can quantify the results of the repeal. People can crunch numbers and see who's in and who's out. And the pressures on the legislators who must make the decisions black and white, jump out at them, especially if they reside in their districts.
So, once again, the health insurance and health care and costs and prices and availability and deductibles and co-pays and every nook and cranny of every issue rises up and constricts the will of Congress to act. It amuses the political elite of both persuasions, or perhaps now there are more than two, but they dont worry much about paying for insurance. For so many Americans, the fear is not that something will get done, but that once again, whatever gets done or not, will be such a mess things will only get worse. And the people long for competence, and straight answers.
We watch as the repeal unfolds and doubt, if my sense of the polity is accurate, most of us are not confident that even as the sun rises an hour different than it did last week, things will get better.
That is the crisis we are facing even greater than the rising cost of health care and health insurance.
Unless we face that, apart from the politics of the moment, none of this will matter.