June 30, 2012


Biggest Winner in Healthcare Decision: The Founders (WALTER RUSSELL MEAD, 6/28/12, Via Medea)

I have one other thought on the decision.

Both the United States and the European Union have been confronting profound and divisive issues over the last few years. In Europe, they are trying to hammer out the nature of a currency union, a matter that affects the money in everyone's pockets. In the US, we have been trying to get a grip on our health care system. These are both the most difficult kind of political issues to address: they affect everybody, they stir up powerful emotional currents, and no perfect solutions that please everyone exist.

I don't think the health care policy we've adopted is a particularly good one, but at least our institutions more or less worked. The President made a proposal, the Congress then in office debated the proposal and, after much agony and pork peddling, passed a law. The law was and is controversial; it is being relitigated in two forums. Judicially, it moved through the Court system and received a full and thorough review, and a definitive decision has been pronounced. This is the law of the land, and it will and should be enforced until changed.

The second form of litigation is through the political system. The people voted in 2010, electing a House that is ready to repeal the bill and start anew. This fall, the public will decide whether the President who proposed the bill and the Senate majority that passed it should or should not be replaced.

Like the results or not, our institutions are producing answers. Our institutions take up the questions before the public and they make decisions. Their deliberations conclude, and they pronounce, and we move to the next stage.

Compare all this with Europe, where there are no institutions that are capable of coming to grips with the currency question. Meeting after meeting is held, no real agreement is reached. Neither the EU Parliament nor the Commission nor the heads of government meeting in summits has the power or a method to decide. Europe is trying to write a constitution even as it works desperately to stave off an economic collapse.

The United States, God knows, isn't perfect. Our political class is not exactly the Best in Show. We labor under some deeply misguided policies and powerful forces threaten to undermine the values and the habits that have made us a great people. Nevertheless, our institutions still work more or less as the Founders designed.

...is that they can't win the universal health care argument democratically.  They needed the most dangerous institution to win it for them.  Now they'll have to settle for reforming it along conservative principles instead of abolishing it on radical ones.

Posted by at June 30, 2012 8:26 AM

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