Senate Preparing for Cloture on Health Care

By Megan McArdle

So there's now about a 90% chance that the health care bill will pass.

At this point, the thing is more than a little inexplicable.  Democrats are on a political suicide mission; I'm not a particularly accurate prognosticator, but I think this makes it very likely that in 2010 they will lost several seats in the Senate--enough to make it damn hard to pass any more of their signature legislation--and will lose the house outright.  In the case of the House, you can attribute it to the fact that the leadership has safe seats.  But three out of four of the Democrats on the podium today are in serious danger of losing their seats.

No bill this large has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote, or even anything close to a straight party-line vote.  No bill this unpopular has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote.  We're in a new political world.  I'm not sure I understand it.

The irony of this is that this bill is great for me personally.  I'm probably uninsurable, and I'm in a profession where most people now end up working for themselves at some point in their career. So mandatory community rating is great news for me and mine. But I think that it's going to be a fiscal disaster for my country, because the spending cuts won't be--can't be--done the way they're implemented in the bill.  We've just increased substantially the supply of unrepealable, unsustainable entitlements.  We've also, in my opinion, put ourselves on a road that leads eventually to less healthcare innovation, less healthcare improvement, and more dead people in the long run.  Obviously, progressives feel differently, and it will never be possible to prove the counterfactual. 

So there you are.  Alea iacta est. I sure hope I'm wrong.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2009/12/senate-preparing-for-cloture-on-health-care/32375/