One of the big discussions among liberals and lefties these days is whether or not to support the likely health care bill that will result from merging the House and Senate versions of health care reform. In the most recent New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg lists some of the prominent lefties who have already come out against the likely bill. I didn’t check his list of those advocating defeat of the likely bill, but it sounds right. It includes Howard Dean, Arianna Huffington, Keith Olbermann and MoveOn.org. Hertzberg goes on to tells why he thinks we should all support the likely bill.
I agree that we should support the bill, flawed though it is in the number of additional people it will cover, the nature of standard coverage moving forward and how we as a society will pay for it.
The flaws of the likely bill, however, are kind of like Al Gore’s were in his race against Bush the Second in 2000. The difference between this bill and no bill at all are enormous, as were the real differences between Gore and Bush.
But the din of the debate on side issues, such as if the government has the right to promote a given religion by not including a safe and legal medical procedure in its coverage, makes it easy to forget what it will mean if no bill passes. Just as in 2000, when the din of issues blurring the differences included Gore’s role in the creation of the Internet and Bush’ supposedly greater “likeability” (which turned out to be as much hokum as Bud Light’s “drinkability”!).
And as with the failure of Gore to win, if this health care bill fails, I guarantee that the majority of Americans will regret it for years to come.
I think to a large degree, too much is being made of leftist opposition to the likely bill. I like, respect and often agree with all of the people who made Hertzberg’s list, which is why I’m wondering hopefully if perhaps one or more of the lions of the left are currently stating opposition to the likely bill for tactical reasons—to make certain that the final bill is as much to their liking as possible, to remind the Democratic leadership of its large left-of-center constituency.