I wonder if it might not turn out to be a good thing in the end that Congress will not come up with a health care plan before its summer recess. Perhaps Congress, Obama, and the American people need to think a little bit more what they are doing before real health care reform is possible. Congress needs to realize that continuing to suck at the campaign contribution teat of the health insurance industry is ultimately going to backfire on it; Obama needs to realize that he can't enact real health care reform without aggressively taking on the health insurance industry, rather than try to make a deal with it--the strategy that already failed 15 years ago in the hands of the Clinton administration; and Americans need to wake up and stop being suckers for every stupid piece of propaganda they are being fed by that self-same industry.
As many readers of this blog may already know, one of the most sensible and cogent analyses of what is wrong and what needs to be done was offered earlier this month in the New York Review of Books by Arnold Relman, former Editor in Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. If you have not already read it, please do so. His message is summed up in the last paragraph, and it is one that I fully agree with:
As bad as they already are, things will have to get still worse before major reform becomes politically possible. The legislation likely to emerge from this Congress will not control—and will probably even exacerbate—the inflation of costs. But sometime in the not-too- distant future, health expenditures will become intolerable and fundamental change will at last be accepted as the only way to avoid disaster. When that time arrives, the opportunity to enact real health reform will finally be at hand.
The hospital lobby.The president of the American Hospital Association made nine trips to the White House in the first six months of Obama's presidency, the Washington Post reports.