Politically this has been quite a week. Don’t you think that John Kerry just wishes that we had five year Presidential terms and that he was going into the election this November, rather than a year ago? This week even the great flip-flopper himself came out with a plan as to how to get our troops out of Iraq. Pity he laid off all the attacks till the election was over (and same with Al Gore too!). Bush keeps ranting on about final victory in Iraq as if he had any idea what the hell he was talking about, and that he hadn’t declared Mission Accomplished two years ago. Now he finds that most of the cabal running the country’s foreign policy for the past 4 years are on their way to disgrace and/or jail, and that his incompetence in choosing a secret wingnut instead of a well-known one for the O’Connor seat on SCOTUS has lost him (at least temporarily) the support of the loony right.
What has any of this got to do with health care?
Well as they say on The West Wing, there are a couple of stories sitting in my backlog that I want to throw out in the trash. First BusinessWeek had a profile of David Brailer, stressing that he honestly believes that there’s a free-market solution to interoperability in our current health care system. Well he’s even lost Neal Patterson on that one (and yup last year Patterson spent a fortune failing to get his wife elected to the House as a Republican). Meanwhile, another leading health care IT exec who wants to get himself elected to Senate as a Republican (Rich Tarrant of IDX) is sounding somewhat like a commie in his support for Medicare and Medicaid. (Hat-tip Don McCane) Finally there was an extraordinary long interview in the New York Times with the founders of AFLAC (itself a pretty useless insurance product) in which they showed that you can make a duck famous while having absolutely no idea about how to fix the US health care system, even if you vaguely understand the problem.
All of this leads me to believe that the business class that runs the country is somehow getting around to this problem, and that they might not object to it being solved. If the Administration’s problems continue to pile on for all the crimes and cock-ups they’ve caused us in the last five years, then next October we might, just might, get a change in the Congress and put us on the road to a Democrat in the White House in 2009. If that happens (and I know this is all speculation) then health care will have to be the first issue on the domestic burner — which is a little sooner than I’d predicted. All pure speculation just now, but this week might be the turning point.