My take on the Bill remains the same. The details will see it losing support among seniors, but probably not enough to matter politically. Paul Ginsburg sees it differently and thinks that there might be another 1989 style repeal on the way. Some first comments on senior support that I’ve heard in the media seem to match this article which has feelings among seniors very mixed. Don’t forget that the most politically influential seniors already have drug coverage–they’ll only get really mad if they see their employers dropping coverage and forcing them into the Medicare plan (which is after all voluntary). That’s why there’s so much money in the plan to bribe what Don Johnson is calling "Old America" (employers who offer pensions) into keeping their pharmaceutical benefits alive for now. The rest of the NYT article that quotes Ginsburg suggests that employers will tread gently in moving retirees over to the Medicare drug program, and of course they can’t before January 2006. Some of you following at home might notice that there’s an election some 13 months before that. Curious, eh, that the program doesn’t start immediately after the election or even just before it? The original Medicare program went into operation in less than 9 months! (You’ll notice that I’m in flippant holiday mode today!)
Frankly I don’t think anyone else in America cares too much about this bill. Hence this huge change in the second biggest government social program has relatively little impact on the news, and even less around the non-health care blogsphere. (One article in the last three days on Andrewsullivan.com and that one shorter than his post on England’s win in the Rugby World Cup . Not one that I can find on the DailyKos. These are, I believe, the two most visited "right" and "left" blogs in the US).
Talking of Don, he has an interesting piece at The Business Word about how the bill is a response to demands from the "market". His assessment is bang on, although he shares Karl Marx’s rather than Adam Smith’s definition of a "market" (Betcha no one’s called you a commie before, eh Don?!). Don also links to non-HC blogger Daniel M Drazner (who claims to be a libertarian Republican–and you thought there were none left!), who has a post with multo-comments from his mainly right wing crowd on the issue.
Elsewhere DB’s Medrants has both a cut down but useful explanation of the details and his own comments which are largely centrist in the "we were never going to get the perfect bill, but this is a workable start" vein. He promises to add more over the weekend (and all you’ll be doing is eating left-over turkey sandwiches!).
Russ at the Bloviator doesn’t hide his true feelings. He believes that this Bill is a) responsible for the death of Medicare as we know it and b) that this is a very bad thing. I would slightly agree with him on the death issue other than it is only at the very start of a long slope towards the TDOMAWKI (pron. Tee-Dom-Or-Key), and that the Medicare program will inevitably get some huge dose of reform anyway some time between now and 20010-2 as the baby-boomers move towards it.
Otherwise that seems to be about it for the Medicare postings. I’ll inevitably get stuck into some of the nuances of the business and political implications next week.
Have a great Thanksgiving holiday.