I have a post on the Health Affairs blog today about what the results of the election will mean for the policy debates over American health care.

No one should underestimate the difficulty of bridging the deep divide between the parties on health care, which is mainly a disagreement over how best to slow the pace of rising costs.  One side favors empowering the federal government to impose more cost controls, while the other side wants to put consumers in functioning marketplaces in the driver’s seat.  In deliberations over restraining projected federal budget deficits, these different visions are sure to collide.

This does not mean that bipartisan agreement is beyond reach.  It isn’t.  Indeed, if ever there were a moment for bipartisan accord, this is certainly it.  There are big problems that must be confronted — problems that are difficult if not impossible for one party to ever fix by itself.  The president, with re-election behind him, will have every reason to make 2013 a highly productive legislative year because his power will only diminish with time.  And House Republicans want to demonstrate to voters that they are as interested in governing as in checking the excesses of the administration.  So it would not at all be surprising to see both sides show more flexibility in the coming year than they have shown in the past.

The rest of the column is online at the Health Affairs blog.