The legislation builds a near-universal health-care system, but it only uses the materials that our system has laying around. It leaves private insurers as the first line of coverage provision, but imposes a new set of rules so that we can live with -- and maybe even benefit from -- their competition. It spends $940 billion in the first 10 years and more than $2 trillion in the second decade, but its mixture of revenues, spending reductions, and cost-controlling reforms are projected to save even more than that. It is the most sweeping piece of legislation Congress has passed in recent memory, but it is much less ambitious than the solutions that past presidents have proposed. It is routinely lambasted for being too big and comprehensive, but compared to the problems it faces, it is too small and too incrementalist.Today, Ezra is working on the policy side of this bill. If you're still unclear, check out this series of posts.Also, don't miss Andrew Sullivan's reax from around the blogosphere. One example from Yglesias:
But it's a start.
Now that it’s done, Barack Obama will go down in history as one of America’s finest presidents. It’s always possible of course that, like LBJ, he’ll get involved in some unrelated fiasco that mars his reputation. But fundamentally, he’s reshaped the policy landscape in a way that no progressive politician has done in decades.In shameless self-promotion news, this blog is currently featured on the front page of the Peace Corps wiki! If you're at all interested (say, wanting to deduce your host country from the various deployment dates, or curious about the history of Peace Corps in various countries), you should check it out. Good stuff.