Health care reform in 2011: Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

Sarah Kliff has a piece up reviewing all that’s happened in health care policy in 2011. The answer? Shockingly little:

But for all the health care policy and politics, nothing much changed. Aside from a tiny tax-reporting requirement, Republicans failed to repeal any part of the health reform law. No grand bargain was struck in this summer’s deficit reduction negotiations. And while some Medicare proposals were positioned as “game-changing,” it all felt a bit familiar to veterans of the debate. As Heritage Foundation’s Bob Moffit and Rea Hederman note, the Wyden-Ryan plan that rounded out this year picked up where similar proposals in the 1980s and 1990s left off. As Princeton’s Uwe Rhinehardt put it in the New York Times “The Ryan-Wyden Plan: Deja Vu All Over Again?”

You should, of course, read the whole thing. I’m only disappointed that Sarah didn’t also add that nothing changed for Plan B. But the bottom line is that it’s incredibly hard to make policy changes in health care. This will disappoint many on the right, who thought that things were really going to change after the 2010 elections. It should also cause those on the left to pause and rethink about how amazing it was that the ACA got passed in the first place.

Personally, it makes me want to go back and tell myself to take a deep breath each time I got overexcited about some policy minutia in the last year.


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