Mark Peterson, professor of public policy and political science, provides analysis on the push for health care overhaul on “Midmorning” on Minnesota Public Radio (July 23, 2009).
Listen to the entire broadcast here.
The following is an excerpt transcribed from the radio broadcast:
Mark Peterson, do you think that we’re finally going to be able to pass a health care plan this time around?
“The odds are significantly higher than in the past…The larger picture is, the health care system has never been in worse shape than it is now, not only do we have 47 million uninsured and growing, we have tens of millions of people underinsured and growing. We have more bankruptcies from health care costs, even if one is insured. We have more evidence today of lower quality in our system, compared to other nations, than we’ve ever had in the past, we have more information today about how significant the cost increases are across the board for individuals, businesses, and government, and compared to other countries around the world.
“So we have a lot of evidence that the system is really, in some senses, unraveling in ways that are disruptive.
“The political situation that President Obama brings in is very different from Bill Clinton. You have to remember Bill Clinton won with 43% of the vote in 1992, Barack Obama has the largest first-term popular margin for an incoming Democratic president since FDR in 1932. Although the Democrats in Congress are roughly the same number as during the Clinton administration, there are more Democrats on the Senate side than was true then, and the Democrats are holding together more, as are the Republicans, than in the past. So there is a more reliable majority for the Democrats, and the House in particular, than Bill Clinton experienced during his years.
“This is a very important point that the President made last night (referring to President Obama’s address on health care delivered on July 22, 2009): the status quo is not a static, unchanging status quo, we have change underway, but all the changes underway right now are all headed in the wrong direction. And so the question is –‘Is there a policy response that can be better than that (by every definition) more negative series of changes that are going on automatically in the healthcare system?’”