- Jonathan Cohn, Senior Editor
- September 21, 2009
A lot of people care about what happens to our health care system. But not a lot of people understand what’s actually being proposed–or even have time to figure it out. And even those who do follow the debate closely may not always know what’s important, what isn’t, and so on. (Even I get confused sometimes.)
Part of the problem is that judging reform actually requires asking several different questions. There’s the economic security issue: Will it expand insurance coverage substantially–and make sure the insurance people have is good insurance? There’s the cost question: Will it pay for itself–and will it reduce costs over the long run? And there’s the matter of quality: Will it actually make medical care better?
Jonathon Cohn: The Treatment
The August recess began with critics attacking health care reform because of its high price tag. It ended with critics attacking health care reform because of how reformers proposed to reduce that high price tag. The intervening weeks were nightmarish: Instead of using August to showcase what reform could do for the average American, the White House spent most of its time knocking down rumors of death panels for the sick and elderly. And as the right became energized, the left grew disillusioned, as much by the administration’s backroom deals as by its ineffectual messaging. Eventually, the shift showed up in the polls. First people grew more wary of reform. Then they grew more wary of the president. It was if everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
Somehow, though, health reform is not dead.