WASHINGTON (AP) - When health care reform finally is passed, the pain will come before the gain.
The proposed taxes and fees take effect quickly. So would Medicare cuts. But benefits -- subsidies for lower middle-income households to buy coverage, consumer protection and eliminating the prescription drug coverage gap for seniors -- come gradually.
Moreover, most of the 30 million uninsured Americans to be helped by the bill won't get coverage until 2013, well after the next presidential election.
A spokesman for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation thinks Democrats won't be able to resist the temptation to keep tinkering to either improve or speed up coverage. And so, health care reform could well be back for an encore.