The consequences of failure

THE CONSEQUENCES OF FAILURE…. A little too much of the media analysis when it comes to health care is about political ramifications. The NYT‘s Reed Abelson did a great job today exploring the real-world consequences if Democrats fail to follow through.

Suppose Congress and President Obama fail to overhaul the system now, or just tinker around the edges, or start over, as the Republicans propose — despite the Democrats’ latest and possibly last big push that began last week at a marathon televised forum in Washington.

Then “my health care” stays the same, right?

Far from it, health policy analysts and economists of nearly every ideological persuasion agree. The unrelenting rise in medical costs is likely to wreak havoc within the system and beyond it, and pretty much everyone will be affected, directly or indirectly.

“People think if we do nothing, we will have what we have now,” said Karen Davis, the president of the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit health care research group in New York. “In fact, what we will have is a substantial deterioration in what we have.”

The piece covers some familiar ground, but it’s a terrific overview. If reform comes up short, costs will soar, budgets will be pushed towards bankruptcy, the ranks of the uninsured will grow, those lacking coverage will die, premiums will get even more unaffordable, and our economic growth and workers’ wages will be stunted.

This isn’t some wild-eyed speculation; this is simply a reality that no serious person contests.

When I read pieces like this, I sometimes just shake my head at public opposition to reform. We know the system is broken; we know we pay too much and get too little. We know the Republican attacks against reform proposals are wrong. Given the mess we’re in, the demand for comprehensive reform should be overwhelming.

And yet, the resistance to sound ideas is fairly intense.

The efficacy of the right-wing noise machine is really a sight to behold.