As everyone who cares already knows, the health care reform bill passed the House late last night. From a policy point of view, it’s a really great thing. The individual insurance mandate combined with the ban of dropping insurees or excluding care for “pre-existing conditions” will be big. In fact, the individual changes that the reform puts in place are widely supported.
But there are a lot of mitigating circumstances that are keeping me from celebrating today. The accounting hand-wave tricks that are in the bill to make it look like a budgetary winner are disgusting. The complete inability for the Democrats to get any moderate Republicans on board with what is a very centrist bill (not to mention the couple dozen moderate Democrats that voted against it) is a real shame. And as a pro-choice liberal, I can’t help but feel disappointed that anti-choice conservatives get to keep any of us from helping poor women get abortions, but I couldn’t keep my money from being used to invade Iraq.
In the end, I simply hope the administration learned a couple of important lessons. Most importantly, if Obama wants something to happen, he needs to be more engaged from day one. I also hope that this reform’s passage helps conservatives realize that the Tea Party’s scorched earth methods aren’t going to work for them and compromise really is a better idea.