Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Health Reform: Will January Be Another August?

Preface: What follows is from a New York Times November 17 blog. I basically agree with what is being said here. What is not being said is: what will happen if no reform bill is passed before January, and legislators go home and find the same intense opposition to reform that exploded in the town hall meetings last August. What happens if the unemployment and underemployment figures are even higher than the current 17% figure? What then? Right now only 17% consider health reform as the nation’s biggest problem. Stay tuned.

Analyst Doubts Health Overhaul Can Pass

By REED ABELSON


Arguing that the political winds are shifting away from the support necessary for an overhaul, one Wall Street analyst is now predicting Congress will not pass any significant health care legislation anytime soon.

In a report to investors on Tuesday, Richard Evans, an analyst with Sector & Sovereign in New York, writes, “We no longer expect Congress to pass impactful health reform legislation this year, or even in this political cycle.”

Mr. Evans cites several factors that he believes makes passage less and less likely, including the increasing public opposition to the overhaul, as well as the emergence of politically divisive issues like abortion and immigration in the debate over the legislation’s specifics.

He also notes that the House and the Senate take very different views on how the overhaul should be paid for, with the House favoring a tax on the wealthy, and the Senate preferring a tax on the most generous insurance policies, the so-called Cadllac plans.

The result is what Mr. Evans sees as irreconcilable differences in opinion about where to get the money for reform, with the House and Senate “settled on a plan that the other cannot pass.”

“In short, we don’t think health reform is failing because someone hasn’t written the right bill; health care reform is failing because no one created a durable coalition in the first place, and potential members of such a coalition have been drawn into other (abortion, immigration, class) battles,” Mr. Evans writes. “For the time being, it‘s simply over.”

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