Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by far the most liberal of the current crop of Supremes, said the reason we’re still arguing 37 years later over abortion rights is that the decision was handed down by fiat in the form of Roe v. Wade. As a people, we never got a chance to vote, and therefore never received the necessary closure to which we were due.
Those thinking Sunday’s health care vote will “push reform over the finish line” are sorely mistaken. We’ll still be arguing 30 years from now, just as the British are arguing 60 years after creating (imposing?) their National Health Service. Yes, it will cost a trillion dollars. Yes, we’ll be paying for 10 years in order to receive five years worth of benefits. And yes, the New England Journal of Medicine predicts a mass exodus of doctors from the profession, further restricting supply and forcing up prices, something not accounted for in the CBO score. But perhaps the most egregious result of the parliamentary trickery and disgraceful backroom dealing is the generations of infighting to which we’ll be condemned (at a time when the country sorely needs the opposite).
Reform opponents have themselves used “deem and pass” before, but never on something so large and controversial, and never on something to which even the bill’s proponents admit there are solid arguments to the contrary. The test of a true leader is the ability to unite. We thought we had it in the form of Obama on a white horse. Sunday’s “vote” will confirm we were wrong.