The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

The Health Summit: A Dramatic Flop

As a dramatic feature, yesterday’s high-profile health care summit in Washington was a flop. That is, for all the breathtaking headlines inspired by the

Iram Martins
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Feb 26, 2010

As a dramatic feature, yesterday’s high-profile health care summit in Washington was a flop.

That is, for all the breathtaking headlines inspired by the partisan showdown, there was exactly zero character development. Republicans went into the building both opposed to the Democrats’ comprehensive reform plans and calling for a do-over — and they left feeling the same way. Democrats, for their part, have been convinced that their proposals represent the right prescription for fixing the nation’s dismal health care system — and their views today remain unchanged as well.

Recognizing, then, that the two sides have agreed to disagree about what reform should look like, it’s worth pointing out the main focus of the disharmony, which is this: Democrats hope to enact a plan that would cover a huge chunk of the nation’s uninsured population (currently 46 million people) by taxing high-income folks and adding fees to medical services companies that will surely profit from the new business. Republicans, on the other hand, have no intention of finding ways to cover most of these folks. (“We just can’t afford this,” House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said during the summit.)

Or, as Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein wrote today:

The most important thing Republicans think is that if there are Americans who can’t afford the insurance policies that private insurers are willing to offer, then that’s their problem — there’s nothing the government or the rest of us should do about it.

This is hardly news. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee and a participant at yesterday’s pow-wow, said in no uncertain terms last month that, “We’re not trying to get to universal coverage.” He was talking about Republicans.

Instead, the GOP plans to call for loosening regulations to allow patients to buy insurance policies from across state lines. The theory is that the increased competition would solve the access problem by making health plans more affordable — the Milton Friedman strategy for covering the uninsured. Nevermind that it would likely cause most companies to move their headquarters to states where regulations are most lax — much like all those credit-card companies have set up P.O. boxes in Delaware and South Dakota.

Indeed, private insurance companies have had decades to lure these tens-of-millions of uninsured Americans into buying coverage by dropping rates. That they haven’t done so says quite a bit about where their priorities rest.

Iram Martins | Personal trainer. Aspiring sommelier. Brunch critic who works part-time. When I'm not competing, you'll find me at dog beaches with my black lab or sipping drinks at the best bars in town. I like to fly a lot.


Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response

Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen

Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight

Source: Flickr; Republicanconference ( On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight

Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment

In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep

Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!

The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the

Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’

Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday

Rep. Perlmutter to hold constituent meet-up in grocery store

Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery constituent meet-up this evening from 5-7 at the Safeway at 38th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. The address is 3900 Wadsworth. The meeting, where Perlmutter typically sits at a folding table and talks to whomever shows up, is free and open to the public

Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs

Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability

Rep. Pete Stark Won’t Dignify Constituent by, er, Micturating Upon His Leg

In the tradition of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark revealed at a recent town hall gathering that there are limits to what

Rep. Peace, ACLU seek investigation of soldier’s allegations of racial discrimination in Afghanistan

Both Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and the American Civil Liberties Union agree: There needs to be an investigation into Spc.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy |