Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Now for Health Insurance Reform?

Predictably, the Democrats are now in total panic mode and ready to jump ship on reform. That, of course, would be an incredibly stupid move, the GOP is going to use it as a blungeon this year and in 2012 no matter what they do. The only difference will be the framing. The narrative will either be big government takeover of health care or the Dems were too incompetent to pass their own bill. They should take a look at Ezra's proposal.
Democrats could scrap the legislation and start over in the reconciliation process. But not to re-create the whole bill. If you go that route, you admit the whole thing seemed too opaque and complex and compromised. You also admit the limitations of the reconciliation process. So you make it real simple: Medicare buy-in between 50 and 65. Medicaid expands up to 200 percent of poverty with the federal government funding the whole of the expansion. Revenue comes from a surtax on the wealthy.

And that's it. No cost controls. No delivery-system reforms. Nothing that makes the bill long or complex or unfamiliar. Medicare buy-in had more than 51 votes as recently as a month ago. The Medicaid change is simply a larger version of what's already passed both chambers. This bill would be shorter than a Danielle Steel novel. It could take effect before the 2012 election.

If health-care reform that preserves the private market is too complex and requires too many dirty deals with the existing industries, then cut both out. But get it done. Democrats have a couple of different options for passing health-care reform this year. But not passing health-care reform should not be seen as one of them.
It's not perfect but it's the best solution I've heard so far.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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Blogger (O)CT(O)PUS said...

More party dystopline, thats what we need (hiccup)!

6:38:00 PM  

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