Health Care Reform – political graveyard or attainable public policy?
Health Care Reform is the “third rail” of Washington politics. Every administration since Woodrow Wilson has tried to pass “health care reform” legislation. All of them have failed, except for Presidents Barack Obama (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010) and Lyndon B. Johnson (Medicare and Medicaid July 30, 1965 (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/johnson-signs-medicare-into-law). Succeed or fail, both parties have paid a high political price for even trying.
Health care reform is complicated, duh! It’s easier to make empty promises than to deliver – a hard lesson that House Republicans are beginning to understand as they struggle to repeal and replace the ACA. Our poisonous political polarization renders meaningful reform of any kind (you name it- immigration, campaign, climate, health) especially difficult. Politicians, driven by self-preservation, shy away from tackling Health Care Reform fearing political suicide (look what happened to the Democrats in the last election). Powerful, well-heeled special interests groups lobby to protect the status quo; and, quite frankly, the American consumer is conflicted about what health care in this country should look like. Yet, our current health care system is failing. The Citizens of the United States hold the dubious distinguished of paying the most and getting the least from their health care system. So, Health Care Reform is not going away; it has been and will remain a driving force in American politics and public policy for as long as we hold onto our “accidental” health care system, or until we finally have affordable, quality health care for all.