Will Healthcare Reform Take Hold?

patchwork-nationI am following the health care reform budget story from a number of sources this morning, here’s one idea that I find interesting:

Dante Chinni Writing for the Christian Science Monitor: “Say this for the Obama administration, you can’t fault it for lacking big ideas. Following a speech full of big thoughts Tuesday night, the president released a budget proposal Thursday full of big numbers – a $1.75 trillion deficit, $2 trillion in cuts.”

“But the number that garnered some of the biggest attention was actually a “smaller” one – a $634 billion reserve fund for healthcare reform. The proposal made it clear that on top of handling an epic economic crisis, President Obama wants to take on one of Washington’s most discussed and thorniest issues.”

Chinni then acknowledges that finding consensus on a universal healthcare is going to be difficult and points to the Patchwork Nation demographic data that can be viewed on the csmonitor.com website. Patchwork Nation has identified 11 voter communities across the U.S., each with its on characteristics.

Writes, Chinni, “Yet as we know in Patchwork Nation, that big macro picture misses a lot of micro differences. For example, the percentage of uninsured people varies greatly from place to place.

Look at our “Service Worker Centers.” These are small towns with lots of small businesses, meaning that a lot of people who live there lack insurance.

Nationwide, “Service Worker Centers” contain 12 million people, spread over 278 counties.

Other communities, however, experience a very different reality with healthcare.

Our “Monied ‘Burb” communities, for instance, tend to hold more people with college degrees. They also have nearly twice as many people in professional jobs as the average US community does, and such jobs are more likely to offer healthcare. In other words, these communities may be less interested in large-scale healthcare changes.

And a lot of people live there – more than 84 million people. That translates to lots of votes in Congress.

Like Chinni, I will be checking in with the Patchwork Nation communities throughout this debate to gauge reactions. I also agree with Chinni’s assessment that  ultimately, the success of the White House’s healthcare plans may hinge on just how much the current crisis affects attitudes in the “Monied ‘Burbs” and other communities where people still have insurance.

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