Now the Actual Debate About Health Care Can Begin

A few weeks ago, Nancy Pelosi was making a case for health care reform, and she argued, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." It was a rather impolitic thing to say, but it turns out to be pretty true.

Over the past year, amid the fluid and contentious public debate and the Byzantine procedural nightmare unfolding in Congress, it has been very easy for proponents and opponents alike to mischaracterize both the broad goals of reform and the specific provisions being proposed.

But now that things are (more or less) finished, it’s kind of useless to bleat about totalitarianism or the death of freedom or some such. (That sort of stuff should be added to Godwin’s Law, and a violation should earn you an automatic disqualification, or a suspension perhaps, from serious public discourse.) Instead of speculating, we can actually start talking about the bill and soon-to-be law as it exists rather than as it is imagined in the addled minds of various tendentious crackpot interpreters and pundits and conspiracy-mongers.

To that end, Ezra Klein is doing us all a great service today by dedicating his blog to highlighting and explaining the major provisions of the reform package: how it raises revenue, what it spends it on, and who it will help. I haven’t written a whole lot about health care, not because I’m not intensely interested in it, but because I find I have precious little value to add beyond the expertise of people like Ezra and Jon Cohn. So today, and maybe tomorrow, I thought I’d continue pilfering the original content of people who know more than I do, and synthesize some of the best information and analysis I can find. Stay tuned.

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