My book on health care, Don't Get Sick in America, says that with expenditures at $63 billion a year and headed toward an eye-popping $100 billion, this has to be the year for national health insurance.
A foreword by Sen. Edward Kennedy emphasizes that this must not be simply an updated insurance program, but a revolution in health care.
Did I forget to mention that my book was published in 1970, and since then, expenditures have risen past $2.2 trillion? Almost 40 years later, America is still wrestling with a health industry that is deathly sick.
The House has gone home; the Senate soon to follow. Left behind are elements of several bills in committees. And now the rhetorical guns of August resound through the land as constituents vent their anger at the mess.
Sen. Arlen Specter and Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were cheered, but also heckled and booed in Philadelphia.
In Austin, Texas, Rep. Lloyd Doggett faced protesters carrying signs saying, "No Socialized Health Care."
The administration says no, not socialized — government; no, not government — public option.
Some senators say no, not public option — co-op. It is a war of slogans, sound and fury signifying little.
Meanwhile, if you listen closely to the president, you will note that he no longer talks of health care reform, but health insurance reform, a limited goal that Kennedy said almost 40 years ago would not work.
Where has the Obama administration gone wrong? Early on it decided that it would avoid the Hillarycare mistake of the 1990s: confronting Congress with a massive plan, all worked out.
This time, the administration would let Congress work out a plan that the president could then sign. As it turns out, that has led to chaos by committee.