Friday, March 19, 2010

An Alternative Point of View

A friend pointed me to this blog post by Keith Hennessey, former Assistant to the U.S. President for Economic Policy (under President Bush).  I certainly don't agree with everything he says, but he carries a much more reasonable tone and point of view than I'm used to hearing.  Granted, you could probably make the argument that he wants the healthcare bill to fail simply because it would just make President Obama and democrats look bad too.  I have difficulty believing that if Congress were to strike down this bill, that it would have absolutely anything to do with changing fiscal responsibility in Washington like Hennessey talks about.  I mean, just try to keep a straight face while you imagine Congress not doing anything else until they fund old policies and significantly reduce the deficit.  And I have to wonder where this talk of fiscal responsibility was 9 years ago.  Note that I'm not saying these things directly in opposition towards Hennessey in particular.  He makes an interesting argument, even if I think it needs to be taken with a healthy grain of salt.

Still, with the complicated nature of healthcare, medicine, disease, and the economy, it's not unreasonable to question whether or not the full $1.3 trillion deficit reduction will actually be observed over the next 20 years.  I think it will definitely save us money in the long run, but whether or not we get that full reduction in 20 years is harder to say.  The more important news, however, is that in 20 years, I should be finished paying off all of my medical school loans!  I think it's important that I keep my priorities straight here, right?

But I digress.  Whether purposely or not, Hennessey also neglects some of the other benefits of the bill, such as the fact that it will expand coverage to 32 million people!  It's not the perfect, absolute best way to expand coverage, and I don't think anyone is trying to say that it is.  But if you're telling me that we can cover 32 million people and save hundreds of thousands of lives, while at worst staying budget neutral, I'm all for it!

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