My wife asked me why there are so many outraged people on those congressmen/senators townhalls (she reads that from WSJ). I used an analogy. Imagine the metro (or buses) during rush hours in Shanghai (I used to take a bus almost every Monday morning in early 1990s, from my brother’s place to my working place, a 1.5-2 hrs journey). Suppose you are the guy (or the lady) already on a bus, the bus is packed and the driver requested everyone move inside “a little bit” so that more people can squeeze in.
In this case, many old people protest against the reform because they are already covered in Medicare and they fear their coverage will be less generous, as you and I know, this country is running out of money. There is few such thing as win-win, or free lunch these days. More people got covered, but coverage will be less generous overall. Doctors will see more patients, possibly with less income (profit). Blah blah blah.
This is like the food already in dog’s mouth. If you try to pull it out, the dog will bite you. Now, if President Obama can pull a magic out of all this. Seems to me a mission impossible, but I would never under-estimate him because I remember 2, 3 years ago, I said to my roommate: a blackman probably won’t get elected as US president in my life time. I was wrong.
Back to healthcare, and US economy (deficit, debt) for that matter. Today the Treasury Secretary is asking the congress to lift the current debt limit of $12.1 trillion. I saw from Fox News (Fix News according to MSNBC Keith Oberman), the sky is falling. I don’t think so. The Japanese has a much larger relative deficit (170% of GDP), though its cizizen has much higher saving rate, or arguably you can say while the country is broke, the Japanese citizens are not. US annual GDP is about $10 trillion, and US has a younger general population compared to Japan. More importantly, US still attracts a lot of immigrants (skilled and unskilled, mostly young). That combined with its strength in technology (innovation), and entruprenurship, should pull the US out of trouble.
That being said, being more fiscal prudent is always a good thing. As the US is moving more close to the European model, I can appreciate the frustration of many people.