The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

The Coming Test for Health Care Reform

Last updated: July 31, 2020 | April 01, 2009 | Anderson Patterson

Robert Pear’s story in today’s New York Times on Democratic health care plans exposes the beating heart of the congressional debate over President Obama’s reform proposals. Overall, the administration’s campaign to overhaul the health care system is going well, Pear reports, with the White House “displayinga surprisingly light touch,” as it herds disparate constituencies toward consensus. The rub for Republicans is Obama’s insistence on a public insurance option to compete with private plans.

The key point in Pear’s reporting:

Lobbyists and Congressional aides have discussed a possible compromise: Congress would authorize a new government-run insurance program, but it would come into existence only if certain conditions were met — if, for example, private insurers failed to rein in health costs by a certain amount after several years.

This is the negotiating point to watch. As managed care consultant Joesph Paduda points out, fears that a public plan will crowd out, and eventually eliminate, private insurance are overblown. If the Democrats buy into this insurance industry compromise, the drive for fundamental reform will falter.

Anderson Patterson | Anderson is a video editor and developer who believes in the power of visual organization. He recently graduated from the University of Washington, where he concentrated on post-production during his studies. He was first exposed to the mystical world of visual art creation while watching his father edit advertisements when he was a child, and he has been working towards his dream of becoming a video editor ever since.

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