FWIW, I see that Kevin Drum agrees with me. First he quotes Jeremy Scahill:
Let’s be clear here: This is a complete and total sellout to the interests of the insurance lobby by the Obama administration. This is, as Michael Moore has said, a complete victory for the ultra-capitalists.
Drum disagrees. In his opinion, the bill is
not only an enormous first step forward, but the only way to make that first step. A government-run single-payer solution was never even remotely politically plausible, and anyone who insisted on jettisoning our current framework of private insurers as a condition of reforming healthcare would never get any serious reform passed. End of story.
As for the private insurance industry, I’ll make a prediction: within 20 years it will be gone in all but name. Either the federal government will fund the vast majority of health insurance, or else private insurers will essentially be regulated utilities, as they are in Germany or the Netherlands. This bill is the beginning of the end for all of them.
On the latter point: Jonathan Bernstein agrees that the Affordable Care Act is merely a first step. The public option that Aaron argued for in the comment section of my previous post? It may arrive in the near future:
I think the public option is going to be a major plank of future (including 2010) Democratic campaigns, and is likely to become law in the not-distant future. Short version of the argument: liberals really love it, it polls well [as Aaron pointed out] and so candidates are unlikely to believe that it will hurt them, and it can be passed through a future reconciliation bill (and it scores well, so it can be used to “pay” for higher subsidy levels, or unrelated items, or even deficit reduction).
I think there’s going to be a lot of pressure from liberals to add a public option through reconciliation in the next Congress, if Democrats still have the majority, and if it doesn’t happen then I do think Obama is likely to campaign for it in 2012.
President Obama? Would he really campaign on the public option?
The ship of state is an ocean liner; it’s not a speed boat. And so the way we are constantly thinking about this issue of how to bring about the changes that the American people need is to — is to say, if we can move this big battleship a few degrees in a different direction, we may not see all the consequences of that change a week from now or three months from now, but 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, our kids will be able to look back and say that was when we started getting serious about clean energy, that’s when health care started to become more efficient and affordable, that’s when we became serious about raising our standards in education.