The Final State of the Union
As a participant in the 1993-'94 health reform effort, I can say that this time, it feels different already.
Thursday's forum participants came from all sides of the debate. They were Democrats and Republicans; members of Congress and constituents; businesses and labor unions; hospitals, doctors, patients, and insurance companies. People who worked to pass healthcare reform a decade ago strategized with those who worked to defeat it. And while they certainly didn't all agree on every aspect of how to fix the system, they all agreed that the one thing we cannot do is continue on the current course.
Fifteen years ago, many felt that if they couldn't have exactly the change they wanted, their second choice was no change at all. Last week, there were no defenders of the status quo. More than one Republican member of Congress agreed with the principles the president laid out for reform. Even a representative of the insurance companies that famously played such a huge role in killing reform in the 1990s pledged the industry's cooperation this time around.