Something Strange?

From TNR's editorial on health care:

[S]omething strange, and not entirely welcome, has happened in the last few weeks: The focus on policy minutiae has crowded out part of the big picture. Health care has become almost entirely a technical discussion, rather than a personal one. It's all about deficit neutrality and bending the curve, instead of making sure every American can get affordable medical care.

But, according to this post by Marc from last week, the focus on cost is largely the White House's doing:

The CBO's fairly static (and bottom-line tough) scoring of health care legislation, a legacy of Orszag's tenure over there, is certainly complicating the argument from cost.  But it's the only major argument that plays well with the voters (and members of Congress) the White House believes are crucial to getting something done.

Obama is arguing both that we can have universal healthcare and that his plan will save us money in the long run and is the only way to tackle the fiscal crisis. This is an extremely complicated argument and counter-intuitive. Obama may be correct (he surely is in recognizing the impact of the health sector on America's bottom line) - but the public's skepticism toward this sugary medicine is totally understandable. Universal healthcare will cost money - lots of it; making the whole system less damaging to the economy, business and government will mean fewer choices, more visible rationing, and less research. It's no mystery why healthcare reform is hard. It means real healthcare for a few who don't have it; but less healthcare and lower leverage for patients for the many who do. But we will get something. As with climate change, we will get a start worth improving on.