Reform Momentum Shifts Back to Passage

January 28th, 2010

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This piece was originally published on National Journal’s Health Care Experts Blog.

The President’s State of the Union address began to shift the momentum in the health care debate back towards passing reform. President Obama didn’t walk away from the challenge of passing controversial policies. Instead, he made reform more important than ever to the success of his agenda. Without reform, Americans will have less money to spend on college for their children, more anxiety about losing their coverage, and greater health care costs in retirement.

Health care reform is also linked to the fiscal discipline that the President wants Congress to adopt. Reform will create a platform for restraining health care costs, which are driving entitlement spending higher.

Perhaps most importantly, the President called on members of both parties in Congress to stop pursuing their short term interests in ways that spread cynicism among throughout the country. He wants members of Congress to join him as leaders in the tough business of governing.

He may have given Congress just the impetus it needs to complete its work on health care. By proving he is a winner, he is showing members of Congress how they can be winners, too.

Together the President’s speech and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement earlier in the day that she believes she can get the votes to pass a compromise based on the Senate bill have vastly improved the chances for a final vote on reform.