Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Health Care Reform Challenges

While most Republicans believe the new health law will be repealed, the Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius says "there is no going back".  Reform is in turmoil after a federal judge in Virginia ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional.  Two other federal judges of equal stature have upheld it,  so confusion prevails with policywonks and the public.

The federal mandate says all Americans must maintain health insurance.  Secretary Sebelius says, "I think discussions are likely to go forward, but most Americans find the practice of saying to sick Americans or those who may be sick or those whose children are sick 'you cannot participate in the health insurance pool' really reprehensible."  

She also said, "Instead of making health insurance more available, more affordable to an estimated 32 to 35 million Americans, repeal would make sure insurance was even further out of reach and that our costs continue to skyrocket," Sebelius said.  She added, "We can't return to the days where over the last 10 years insurance charges went up 131% and people have less coverage and less options."

Many think the new health law challenges will make it all the way to the Supreme Court.

When you look at history, there are similarities with the "New Deal" from President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Social Security Act.  He initiated it between 1933 and 1938.  In 1939 a survey of the American people asked, "Do you think the attitude of the Roosevelt administration toward business is delaying business recovery?" The American people responded "yes" by a margin of more than two-to-one and business felt even more strongly.  Legislators fought the child labor amendment, the banking reform act and the new deal relief programs as "almost the complete Communistic form of government".   New Deal opponents said "if we adopt an old age pension, we are taking another step toward destruction."

The Social Security Act was settled in a set of Supreme Court decisions that moved America toward other industrialized nations in offering old-age pensions and unemployment compensation.  We must remember how complex that bill was.  All Americans had to be issued social security numbers, taxes were withheld, field offices were set up, States had to cooperate.

Could the New Deal be accomplished in the present contentious bi-partisan climate?  Will we move forward with health reform or maintain the status quo? 

18 comments:

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

I think we will move forward, but it will be a zig-zag, not a straight shot to the president's goal line. Keep in mind that only 43% of Americans approve of the passed health care law. Most of us are against all of it or part of it. I don't think we should expect any bipartisanship on this issue. The GOP will exploit the public's legitimate anxiety over this issue. Very nice post.

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