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Fixing it later

Posted By Russ Roberts On January 21, 2010 @ 1:59 pm In Health | Comments Disabled

Gail Collins and David Brooks discuss [1] what Congress ought to do about health care. Gail Collins says:

I only have one thought, which is that the Democrats should pass the health care bill now. If that means having the House pass the Senate version, fine. Even the stupid parts. Even the part about how Nebraska doesn’t have to pay its share of the Medicaid bills, which is so ridiculous that even Nebraskans are embarrassed.

They can fix it later. Or take the money out of the ethanol subsidies.

I think the last line is supposed to be a joke. And maybe it’s supposed to be an ironic joke. I don’t know. But it says way too much about our political process. It’s really hard to get rid of bad legislation. Most people (almost everybody?) think ethanol subsidies are a loser except for the people who get rich from them directly, Archer Daniels Midland and maybe some others. But do we fix it? We don’t. That’s the way the system works. There’s a lot of inertia. It’s hard to get health care changed. And once it’s changed it’s hard to change it back. So advocating something horribly flawed as Collins and others have done on the grounds that we can fix it later is absurd. It won’t get fixed.

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