UPDATE: I wrote this post yesterday, Thursday, and never got to posting it. I now see that Atrios has written something similar, so I’m posting mine and adding his at the bottom. First me:
I think it’s a mistake for the White House to be talking incessantly about how this bill will cover 30m people who didn’t have insurance before. As I’ve written previously, human beings are selfish. Especially during a time of crisis. Most people are still worried about the economy, about the direction our country is heading in. They’re worried about their families. They’re much less worried about the family down the street, or worse, the family in another state who they don’t even know. That doesn’t mean that it’s not morally laudable to insure 30m people who don’t have insurance. It does mean that it’s a difficult sell telling people how much the other guy is going to benefit, rather than focusing on how they will benefit. Especially when they were promised that the legislation would help all 300 million Americans, not just 30m.
It’s a loaded question, of course, but one of the political minefields associated with this bill is the lack of universality of benefits. “Some people” will get subsidies, and as we know in this country benefits which go to poor people are not exactly popular.
Whatever the merits of the bill, and they exist, the politics are going to be horrible.