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Health Care Reform and American Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know Paperback – October 20, 2010
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"Health Care Reform and American Politics provides great insight into what really happened on the road to health care reform. If you really want to know how the system works--and how it doesn't--this is the place to start."--Senator Al Franken
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Political processes aside, this book is also a great resource for what the ACA means to individual Americans. For those who are open-minded and willing to learn what the law is and is not really about then this book will be very informative. There are many great provisions included in the ACA that will benefit most people. The main people who might face finical harm are shareholders of the major private health insurance corporations. The "individual mandate" is actually a protection provided to these corporations so that the new law won't devastate their industry. This book provides a lot of data to build a case that the ACA could potentially reduce the deficit and help the economy. If a person is not so convinced already by the Tea Party worldview, then this book might provide some insight to the reasonableness of the ACA. For those who are adamantly opposed to the ACA then this book should be read at least as a source of counterpoint to Fox News and the massive spin campaign from the major lobbying efforts of the private health insurance industry (anyone interested in learning more about that spin campaign should read "Deadly Spin" written by industry insider Wendell Potter).
There might be some pro-Obama bias in the writing (mine, too). This is difficult for me to assess. Even if there is, this book is a great place to start in informing oneself about a critical issue facing all of us today. You can always read another one biased in the opposite direction to balance this one out.
Why is the topic of this book so critical? A recent poll showed that only 26% of those polled listed health care reform as a top priority. However, even if your employer currently provides you with health insurance at a cost to you that you find acceptable, you can expect your out-of-pocket costs to increase very dramatically in the near term if this act is not implemented. If, like me, you pay for your own insurance, you have already seen huge (in my case, 17%/year) increases in premiums over the past several years (and, importantly, not just since the vilified "Obamacare" was passed). If you currently cannot afford health insurance under the present system, you probably do, or will at some point, consider delaying needed care due to lack of funds. The book explains how people in these and other situations will be helped by the Act, without increasing the deficit.
Will the Act do all that is needed to control costs? Probably not, but it is an excellent start. As the book explains, we should fix it and augment it, not tear it down and leave the average citizen with no solutions at all.
The book also gives some insight into Obama's approach to politics - specifically, why he is sometimes silent on a topic upon which critics opine that he should take a strong stand. This silence may be for strategic reasons, much like in a negotiation that an ordinary citizen might engage in to buy a car. It is often advantageous to make your opponent be the first to speak about specifics. You can always respond to their offer by haggling for a better deal, but once you show what you are willing to give, your negotiation power is all but lost. The oft-cited criticism that Obama "gives in" too quickly to opponents is also addressed. According to the book, he is a pragmatist -- preferring to give a little and get most of what he wants rather than cling stubbornly to ideals and end with nothing.
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