Monday, March 02, 2009

Bobcast: Health care debate, 2.0

Latest Bobcast is up. Listen here or read below.

Would 1993’s failed presidential health care initiative have worked out differently in an era of an activist netroots and a steadily worsening economy?

All the signs are suggesting we may soon find out.

This week President Obama’s administration plans to roll out it its health care ambitions, which might be summed up as crafting coverage that is more universal and less costly.

In 1993, the newly elected Clinton administration tried something similar. The proposal went down in flames, killed by a mixture of White House cluelessness, con-servative foes and health insurers.

The opposition was best summed up by a series of TV commercials featuring a fictional couple, Harry and Louise.

The message: Clinton would grant government health care regulators the ability to "choose."

"And we lose," Louise adds.

Times have changed. In fact, Harry and Louise were back during the 2008 presidential race, urging a national dialogue on improving U.S. health care.

The economy has changed, as well. And for the worse.

For the better since 1993, is the addition of an Internet, well-stocked with activists. Watch for real-life people to exercise their online power to illustrate frustrations against the current health care system and its inefficiencies and inequities.

Regardless of how Obama’s plans work out, it’s clear we’ll hear more voices in this year’s debate than we did in 1993.