No wonder President Obama and the Democrats moved heaven and earth to overhaul our nation’s health care system. It’s all about making history. On Yahoo!’s main page, we read Obama hails 60th Senate vote for historic health reform bill”
Jubilant Democrats locked in Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson as the 60th and decisive vote for historic health care legislation Saturday, putting President Barack Obama’s signature issue firmly on a path for Christmas Eve passage.
At the White House, Obama swiftly welcomed the breakthrough, saying, “After a nearly century-long struggle, we are on the cusp of making health care reform a reality in the United States of America.”
It’s all about the historical struggle, the people be damned. For this isn’t the only thing historical about this vote as Megan McArdle (and other bloggers, including yours truly, and pundits) have pointed out:
No bill this large has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote, or even anything close to a straight party-line vote. No bill this unpopular has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote. We’re in a new political world.
We sure are. But, we’re still in the same old media world. In telling us how historic this bill is, the AP only reports those aspects of the CBO report that fit its narrative:
CBO analysts also said the legislation would cut federal deficits by $132 billion over 10 years and possibly much more in the subsequent decade.
These longer-term calculations assume that the provisions are enacted and remain unchanged throughout the next two decades, which is often not the case for major legislation. For example, the sustainable growth rate (SGR) mechanism governing Medicare’s payments to physicians has frequently been modified (either through legislation or administrative action) to avoid reductions in those payments, and legislation to do so again is currently under consideration in the Congress. . . .
The legislation would maintain and put into effect a number of procedures that might be difficult to sustain over a long period of time. Under current law and under the proposal, payment rates for physicians’ services in Medicare would be reduced by about 21 percent in 2010 and then decline further in subsequent years.
And while the AP article reports all the legislation’s supposed benefits as facts, the unnamed author leaves it to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to spell out the costs, as if they’re not really facts, just allegations by a man embittered by his defeat. The article doesn’t mention the payoffs to the state of Nebraska nor the other federal funds siphoned off to secure the votes of other once-wavering Democrats.
To talk about the messy way this bill was passed might get in the way of the historical narrative the AP wishes to offer.
FROM THE COMMENTS: Ryan reminds us that just because something is historic doesn’t mean it’s good:
Historic? Oh, it’ll be historic.
The crash and burn of the Hindenburg was historic. The Black Plague in Europe was historic. The fall of Rome was historic. Wars that killed hundreds of thousands of people are historic. But none of these were good things. However, it’s exactly the kind of “historic” we’re seeing here in Obamacare.
The BAD kind of historic.
And I would add the Munich agreement Neville Chamberlain signed was also historic.