This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition:
Here we go again.
Fifteen years after Bill Clinton’s health care reforms sank in a sea of bickering Democratic lawmakers, President Barack Obama is making another run at the monumental problems of the American health care system.
Obama has some advantages. Unlike Clinton, he was elected by a majority vote, and he’s got lots of political capital to spend. Also, conditions are riper.
Last time around, the wind in the sails of health care reform came from a recession that had millions of Americans fearful of losing their jobs – and their insurance. Public interest dropped once the economy revived.
This time around, the job losses are worse, public anxiety is higher and the country seems to have reached broad agreement that all Americans ought to have health coverage.
Now as then, though, the devil’s in the details. Clinton dumped more than 1,000 pages worth of details on Congress in a massive reform bill; critics were already picking it apart before it saw the light of day.