This week there are signs that the next healthcare debate may be just starting. The Center for Studying Health System Change reported that health cost increases were stable but stable at a rate of increase that's three times the rate of inflation. That's just a reminder, as if we needed one, that the rest of the economy is having trouble funding the health benefits of workers and retirees, let alone getting the uninsured into the system. Meanwhile, General Motors has been blaming healthcare for its own troubles and is threatening to have a go at the union over the issue. And the chattering classes in both the liberal and conservative press has been about their favorite solutions, be they consumer accounts, vouchers or (gulp!) single payer.
Not much of this is showing up in Congress yet, but if getting or affording insurance becomes a real struggle, especially for white males in their 50s in the south who predominantly vote Republican, as it may well become in the next few years, this is one issue on which politically there may be some movement. So watch this over the next few years, and just maybe prepare for a re-run of 1993. - Matthew