“If I were a member of Congress, my floor speech before casting a yes vote would have boiled down to:
“One of the astonishing aspects of the health-care debate is how little is actually known about the implications of a change this far-reaching. Everyone has a theory, and a model to match, but even some of the most fundamental questions remain the subject of debate.”
“What measurements can we look at? First, it’s worth enumerating what, exactly, the goals of health care reform were, as articulated by Obama and the Democrats. One was to protect families from financial instability and possible bankruptcy due to medical bills. Obama also argued that reform would make Americans healthier and save lives. Finally, reform was supposed to help rein in the country’s spiraling health care costs and keep the nation from sinking deeper into debt—although you could argue that this was really more of a selling point than an original goal of reform.
“The problem with these numbers, as with any real-world economic measurement, is that there’s no control. Medical bankruptcies may eventually go down, but they might have gone down anyway, thanks to a rebounding economy. Americans might get healthier, but education and anti-obesity efforts might have made them healthier anyway. Despite the Obama administration’s penchant for citing “jobs created or saved,” no such measurement exists…
“Health care reform may be a decisive political victory for Democrats. It could even become as popular as Medicare, which soared in the polls once implemented, despite the fear-mongering that surrounded it. But that’s different from saying it will be a quantifiable policy success. ‘We won’t lack data,’ says Karen Davenport of the Center for American Progress. ‘But we might have some disagreements.'”
“Hours after the bill passed, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs set the talking points: ‘[I]f people want to campaign on taking tax cuts away from small businesses, taking assistance away from seniors getting prescription drugs, and want to take away a mother knowing that their child can’t be discriminated against by an insurance company … we’ll have a robust campaign on that,’ he said at the Monday briefing…
“Gibbs on Tuesday trumpeted a Gallup/USA Today poll that showed 49 percent approval and 40 percent disapproval* of the health-care law.
“‘This will give the nattering nabobs of negativity something to chew on,’ Gibbs – channeling former Maryland Governor and Vice President Spiro Agnew – said on his Twitter feed, linking to the poll results.”
“‘I’ve said if passing this bill means I have to walk out of my office that night, it would be with the greatest pride,’ Pelosi told ‘Newshour with Jim Lehrer’ in an interview to air this evening.
“‘But I haven’t any intention of losing the Democratic majority,’ the speaker added. ‘It’s too important to the country; it’s too important to the lives of the American people. We are there for them.'”