Robert B. Reich, a co-founder of The American Prospect, is a Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His website can be found here and his blog can be found here.
I'm a strong supporter of universal health insurance, and a fan of the Obama administration. But I'm appalled by the deal the White House has made with the pharmaceutical industry's lobbying arm to buy their support.
On our drive across America, my son and I have spotted spiffy white vans emblazoned with phrases like "ObamaCare will raise your taxes" and "ObamaCare will put bureaucrats in charge of your health." Just outside Omaha we drove close enough to take a peek at the driver, who looked as dutifully professional as the spanking new van he was driving.
Every day that goes by without a vote in the House or Senate on universal health care makes it less likely that major reform will occur, because (1) opponents have more time to stir up public anxieties about it; (2) Democrats up for reelection next year come ever closer to the gravitational pull of the midterms, and grow increasingly worried about voting for a bill that could be a political liability in a year when unemployment may well reach double digits and the electorate is restless and unhappy; and (3), as a result of the first two, proponents increasingly have to rely for support and cover on industries like Big Pharma and insurance, as well as physician specialists and equipment suppliers, none of whom have any interest in fundamental reform but all of whom see possibilities for
Been Down So Long It Seems Like Up To Me, the precocious 1966 novel by the late Richard Farina, defined the late 1960s counterculture. The stock market rally that pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average back above 9000 for the first time since early January could be given the same title, and it might well come to define the much-wished-for financial recovery.
Right now, Obamacare is at war with itself. Political efforts to buy off Big Pharma, private insurers, and the American Medical Association are all pushing up long-term costs -- one reason why Douglas Elmendorf, head of the Congressional Budget Office, told Congress late last week that "the cost curve is being raised." But this is setting off alarms among Blue Dog Democrats worried about future deficits -- and their votes are critical.