Barack Obama grew to become president simply because the nation was reeling from its worst financial downturn for the reason that 1930s.
Out of necessity, he noticed his first job as working with Democratic majorities in each homes of Congress to go an enormous stimulus invoice.
However then, as he recounts in his forthcoming memoir, he rejected the recommendation of his closest confidantes and pivoted to healthcare. Realizing his political capital wouldn’t final, President Obama set in movement a profitable legislative marketing campaign to deal with two of healthcare’s most urgent and long-standing issues: the big and rising uninsured inhabitants and the sector’s out-of-control prices.
The subsequent president will face the same dilemma. Solely, this time he received’t have a selection. Healthcare should be taken care of and it should come first.
The reason being apparent. The one technique to finish the present financial downturn is by efficiently controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, which is spiking to new heights due to the nation’s pathetic response to this point.
It’s fairly doable Congress within the lame-duck session will lastly go a fourth COVID-related stimulus invoice. When negotiations broke off between Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin simply earlier than the election, the 2 sides have been nonetheless $500 billion aside.
Senate Republican leaders stated they couldn’t spherical up the 13 votes wanted to beat a filibuster and provides tax-starved state and native governments a lot wanted support. With out that help, native communities, which should steadiness their budgets, should lay off tens of hundreds of well being and security first-responders.
However let’s assume for the second that, as soon as election-season passions cool, Congress will a minimum of get that a lot achieved. That may solely set the stage for coping with the pandemic.
Right here’s a quick rundown of what each authorities, healthcare and enterprise establishment ought to push for over the approaching months:
- Do every part in your energy to foyer the federal government to create and execute a nationally coordinated technique for controlling the virus. Ideally, it ought to have bipartisan backing.
- Guarantee healthcare suppliers and public well being businesses have every part they should present take care of these stricken with the illness; assist and shield employees offering that care; and set up complete testing and tracing applications in each metropolis, city and state.
- As wanted, impose lockdowns or, hopefully, lesser financial restrictions, whereas insisting on masking and social distancing throughout neighborhood actions.
Till we decide to a nationwide response that sharply reduces the an infection charge, there will likely be no financial restoration.
Banking fully on the hope that scientists and the drug trade will give you an efficient vaccine is lunacy.
Below one of the best of circumstances, a nationwide vaccine marketing campaign received’t roll out for a minimum of six months. Even then, the vaccine could also be solely partially efficient. The ultimate knowledge will inform. Which means measures like masking and social distancing will in all probability have to stay in place for a minimum of one other yr.
Given these realities, 2021 is shaping up as one other recession yr. Even the inventory market acknowledges that truth.
Within the meantime, what’s going to occur to the tens of tens of millions of people that lose their medical insurance as a result of they’ve misplaced their jobs? What’s going to occur to the hundreds of individuals slammed with big hospital and doctor payments as a result of they contracted COVID-19 with out medical insurance? What’s going to occur to the hospitals and doctor practices that took care of these sufferers however didn’t obtain reimbursement?
Past these speedy wants, that is nonetheless a nation that, even in one of the best of instances, hasn’t solved its uninsured downside. And now a newly reconfigured Supreme Courtroom is poised to throw out our final try at fixing the issue.
So right here’s my one and solely prediction concerning the election: A technique or one other, healthcare would be the first order of enterprise when the brand new Congress convenes subsequent January.