At this point it looks grim. Health care might just be the Afghanistan of domestic policy. You can wade in, but it's going to be a fight to get back out alive. Just look at what happened to the Clintons when they set up camp here early in their administration. The Republicans hopped on the fright machine and sent them packing in defeat. You can turn on the radio and listen to the Republican "base" pick on Joe Wilson for apologizing, itching for a fight. And the truth is the morass of health care policy, the complications of our unique patchwork of a health care system, defy easy analysis and reform. A public option might just increase costs as well as save money, and the art of forecasting these outcomes is far from exact. But one thing is clear for me. Health care is a right, just as much as education and security from aggression. We count on the government to provide us with police and defense forces and public schools. Although there is a place for the private sector in all of these fields, the government cannot hesitate to step in and level the playing field in the name of the weak and less able to fend for themselves. To say that we can't afford it, while spending billions every day on the unnecessary adventures of Iraq and Afghanistan, is plainly immoral. We need to cross this Rubicon for once and get on with it.
(image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images. September 9, 2009 in Miami, Florida)