“We’re always putting out these estimates: This is going to cost $1.042 trillion exactly. But you sort of want to add, you know, ‘Your mileage may vary.’ ”
- — Phil Ellis, senior analyst, Congressional Budget Office
The WaPo article where I saw that quote earlier today is a fascinating read. It reminded me of a central argument of one of my favorite books. That argument: There’s too much to know, too many variables to account for, making our best laid plans nothing more than partially informed guesses … at best.
I know: It’s a rather depressing thought. Fortunately, the author of the book concludes on a somewhat brighter note, namely: Because life is a bunch of partially informed guesses, our best chance at success is not guessing once, but guessing constantly, adjusting as we go.
And that’s pretty much how I suspect health care reform will (and should) unfold. Whatever legislation passes before the end of the year will be a guess that’s second-guessed and modified by other guesses, ad infinitum — making Obama’s expressed desire to be the “last president” who tackles this issue perhaps the silliest statement he has made since taking office.