NEWS BLOG (WSAU) "At least I can sleep easy knowing that Republicans will get control of Congress, and Obama will be a one-term President."
That was one of the comments on our message board after the health care bill passed its procedural vote in the Senate early this morning.
I understand the anger among opponents of health care reform. But I think the political analysis is wrong.
Assuming health care reform wins final approval, the morning after everything stays the same for virtually all Americans. Most of us have health insurance, and for us the immediate changes will be pre-existing conditions will be covered and lifetime maximums on benefits will be lifted. If our premiums go up, that won't happen until next year. Most of us will not pay more in taxes, unless we earn more than $200,000. The morass that is government-run heath care, with the mandatory buy-ins and public exchanges and all those regulations won't start until five years from now. It's a bill where the benefits are front-loaded; the painful (unpopular) changes are back-loaded.
Voters may throw someone out of office if Congressman So-and-so makes an unpopular vote that increases their taxes. But the pain from this bill is down the road, and voters memories are short.
Yes, the job market will continue to be sluggish because it will cost employers more to hire workers. But those are indirect impacts that voters tend not to demand political accountability for. In the meantime, Barack Obama gets to claim a major political victory. He'll get to say how good health care reform is, and in politics if you say something often enough, people tend to believe it.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau