As anyone even passively familiar with the debate surely knows, the tens of millions of Americans with no coverage are struggling with a burden unseen in other major democracies. Thousands more join the ranks of the uninsured every day. Tens of thousands of Americans die every year because they have no insurance. Hundreds of thousands of others fall into medical bankruptcy — and most of these medical bankruptcies involve people who have insurance, but whose coverage proves inadequate.
To come up short now, or to pass a half-measure intended to respond to shifting political winds, would be more than just a political fiasco. It would be genuinely cruel.
The circumstances are incontrovertible. We pay too much and get too little. The system is bankrupting families, undermining businesses, hurting wages, and placing crushing burdens on government at every level. If reform falters right now, every easily-identified problem will get considerably worse. The current course is simply unsustainable for a country that hopes to have a fiscally responsible, competitive, and healthy future.
Steve Benen has an excellent article in Washington Monthly, "The way forward on health care reform in 2010." I hope House Democrats are paying attention.