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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Health Reform's Comprehensive Incrementalism

Ezra Klein offers a pretty fair assessment of the Senate Finance Committee's health reform legislation post Congressional Budget Office analysis "this bill will change the insurance situation for 37 million legal residents, 29 million of whom would otherwise be uninsured. That's a big step in the right direction. But most people will never notice it."
Klein coins a great new term "comprehensive incrementalism" and correctly notes that the bill would produce some good change, but is by no means represents system-wide reform. So even if it becomes law, Barack Obama will not be the last president to take on health reform.
There is a larger political point though, according to the CBO the Senate Finance bill would cover 94% of the population and with cost offsets and new revenue would reduce the deficit - the bill is paid for. So Republicans have a choice to make; will they simply be the party of "No" or will they follow the advice of former Majority Leader and presidential candidate Bob Dole and support the reform effort? The bill offers the promise of expanding coverage while maintaining the basic structure of our current system (unfortunately), so what is there for the GOP to oppose?