The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.
The bill will also reduce a different kind of inequality. In the broadest sense, insurance is meant to spread the costs of an individual’s misfortune — illness, death, fire, flood — across society. Since the late 1970s, though, the share of Americans with health insurance has shrunk. As a result, the gap between the economic well-being of the sick and the healthy has been growing, at virtually every level of the income distribution.
The health reform bill will reverse that trend. By 2019, 95 percent of people are projected to be covered, up from 85 percent today (and about 90 percent in the late 1970s).
First, this morning, President Obama signed the health care bill into law. Here’s the video of his pre-signing address:
And on to the links and information. I’ve been saturating Facebook with links because there’s a lot to know and get informed on–anything as substantial as health care reform is going to be complicated. Here’s a mini-compendium of links from the last day or so:
Ezra Klein gets Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt’s thoughts. (I actually quoted Reinhardt in a paper I wrote at Fuller a year ago, entitled “Initiating a Christian Conversation About Health Care Reform.” I may put it up for download–for posterity’s sake–soon.)
And a note left by Patrick Kennedy at his late father Ted’s gravesite: “Dad, the unfinished business is done.”
We’ll finish with a couple quotes. First, from James Fallows, writing in The Atlantic:
For now, the significance of the vote is moving the United States FROM a system in which people can assume they will have health coverage IF they are old enough (Medicare), poor enough (Medicaid), fortunate enough (working for an employer that offers coverage, or able themselves to bear expenses), or in some other way specially positioned (veterans; elected officials)… TOWARD a system in which people can assume they will have health-care coverage. Period.
And second, thanks from President Obama to all of you–to all of us–who kept the faith:
It is because of you that we did not quit. It’s because of you that Congress did not quit. It’s because of you that I did not quit. It’s because of you.