A reader writes:
With all due respect I believe that you and Jon Rauch are missing the point. The latest version of the health care bill is not a path to sanity because it has caved to the biggest problem in government - selling out to special interests. Rauch of all people should understand that having written the definitive book on the subject. It is selling out to special interests, and especially to greed and the total lack of character in the way that the government is run which is the problem. That is an even bigger problem than health care.
I have been with you all along on the need to reform health care and fix the many problems, but the bill just got worse and worse and worse. It lost my support when Obama and the Democrats gave in to the unions over so called "cadillac" health plans. Why should they not have to pay a tax when others at the same income level would have to pay the tax? It is blatant special interest politics on top of a whole series of them and that is what has brought this thing down, along with the cost. It is all just too much.
The idea that public employees make less than those in the private sector is a myth that needs to die. Most already have cadillac plans and in most places their salaries are ahead of private workers whose taxes go pay for their income. On top of that they get much better benefits and pensions, so to let them out of a tax that private industry workers will have to pay who work at the same income level is a slap in the face. Our system cannot work if the government employees earn more than the private industry workers earn who are supporting them.
The health plan did not go down because people like me are too dumb to get it or Obama didn't communicate it right. It went down because it had so many straws of costs and special favors to everyone up and down the street that they broke the camel's back.
Obama attacking now, attacking voters who don't get it, attacking the banks, insurance companies, etc, is not going to work. Stop attacking and start doing something about it, that is what people want. Say no to the special interests and make it fair and people will support it. And for God's sake stop blaming voters for being dumb and not getting it, it is the Democrats who are not getting it at this point.
If this kind of good-government purism is necessary for passage of legislation this big and this complex, affecting so many interests and groups, then no bill will ever be passed in the real world. I don't disagree with my reader on the merits of these specifics. But the urgency of the task, the uniqueness of this moment, and the capacity for further reform puts me in the opposite camp.