I have been optimistic about healthcare reform since a few years ago when I met a then state Senator Obama as he was running for US Senator. His passion about the issue struck me even then... and I was on his bandwagon early. My friends who ask me what I think of "The Plan" hear the following from me - it's not about the specifics (which we really don't know yet), it's about acknowledging the failure of our current system to create a sustainable system that takes care of everyone, and the potential to improve in so many ways by aligning incentives and allowing enough freedom to system create innovations that work.
And when I hear the pessimists say it won't pass, I truly believe that many more people want it to pass than do not. This recent article provides a good analysis of that subject:
Lobbyists the silver lining in health care storm?
A few crucial snippets:
The drug industry, the American Medical Association, hospital groups and the insurance lobby are all saying Congress must make major changes this year. Television ads paid for by drug companies and insurers continued to emphasize the benefits of a health care overhaul — not the groups' objections to some of the proposals.
"My gut is telling me that something major can pass because all the people who could kill it are still at the table," said Ken Thorpe, chairman of health policy at Emory University in Atlanta. "Everybody has issues with bits and pieces of it, but all these groups want to get something done this year." As a senior official at the Health and Human Services department in the 1990s, Thorpe was deeply involved in the Clinton administration's failed effort.
And as much as these forces were against change in the past, their strength will be one of the reasons we will be able to move forward in the future.