Care Inside, Outside, and Below the Beltway
Inside the Beltway" is an American idiom used to characterize
matters that are, or seem to be, important primarily to officials of the U.S. federal government,
to its contractors and lobbyists,
and to the corporate media who cover them—as opposed to
the interests and priorities of the general U.S. population.
refers to Interstate 495, the
Capital Beltway, a circumferential highway (beltway) that has
encircled Washington, D.C. (the capital
of the United States) since 1964. Some speakers of American
English now employ the word as a metonym
for federal government insiders (cf. Beltway
Geographically, Inside the Beltway
describes Washington, D.C. and those sections of Maryland
that lie within the perimeter of the Capital Beltway.
Description and Definition
Everybody knows what “Inside the Beltway” and The
Beltway” means. It’s where politicians
come to do good, and end up doing well. It’s where President came to change, and ended
up changing him. It’s where he came to
rescue the middle class and instead, inexplicably and unexpectedly, redistributed
income to the rich. It’s where people in the top five richest
zip code in the U.S. live. It's where
the President came to level the health care playing field so that the poor and
insured and halth plan violated would get a fair shake and a fair share of what
health care had to offer. It's a place
whose culture the President came to change so Main Street could share in prosperity
inside the Beltway.
Somehow it hasn’t worked out. Main street businesses are crumbling. The numbers of unemployed, looking for work,
or dropping out of the workforces are staggeringly high. The national debt is
up by $7 trillion. And health care, that’s
the same kettle of fish. Even though his health reform bill passed over
3 ½ years ago, premiums are climbing,
the health law remains as unpopular as ever,
and its implementation is under
attack and big chunks are being delayed.
In the words of comedian Dave Barry in his book
Dave Barry Hits Below the Belt, there is “ a vicious and unprovoked attack on our most
cherished political institutions” – the federal government, its agencies, and Congress.
Is this attack deserved? Probably not. The intentions of the health reform law are noble –
to redistribute benefits from the well-off to the less-well off and to make the
health system as a whole more efficient by applying the principles of modern
management through the application of
Big Data and high tech information technologies. The opportunity was there in
the beginning to pass it without a single Republican vote. And some of its
provisions did protect the public. Its
troubles were that it has not yet delivered on its promises – to keep your
doctor and your health plan, to cut costs, to expand access. And it has unanticipated consequences. It has worsened the doctor shortage. It has depressed hiring. It helped stagnate the recovery. It threatened to turn us into a part-time
nation as businesses hire more part-time than full-time workers to avoid
Obamacare penalties. And it has
alienated unions, who find its provisions troubling because Obamacare has
“disrupted “ the union missions was of
providing full-time work with rich health benefits.
Will health reform work as promised? Perhaps. Time and the number signing up for health
exchanges will tell. In the
interim, the President may need to
tighten the Beltway belt to keep from
losing his political pants. At times, even
a President inside the Beltway needs to
tighten his seat belt.
and health care conditions look different inside and outside the Beltway and
may require belt tightening by all concerned.
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