Bob’s musings about how deeply we might have been had have been making me twitchy. I decided to see what Jacob Hacker’s been saying, in hopes that it might prove curative of my increasing paranoia. It has.
What do you make of the fixation on the public option, both from the left and the right?
I think it’s understandable that the public option has attracted a lot of attention from both sides. But I think it has also taken on an importance that has exceeded its intrinsic value. Both sides of the debate see health care reform and the way in which it’s done as symbolic of how government should deal with economic insecurity in the United States.
For those who are supportive of the public option, the fact that a reform proposal that doesn’t include it would be requiring individuals to obtain health insurance from the same private insurers that have gotten us into this present mess is deeply troubling. On the other side, the public option somehow symbolizes the specter that is entirely mythical that expanding coverage to all Americans is tantamount to government takeover.
It’s important, as we consider what options for the public plan are being proposed, that we understand what it’s meant to do. It’s not meant to become the sole insurer for most Americans, but instead to provide a critical counterweight to private insurance in markets where private insurance plans are increasingly consolidated.
So you have not given up hope on the public plan?
Not at all, not at all. I don’t think we should give up hope on health care reform, and I don’t think we should give up hope on having a strong public plan.
Ultimately, I have a great deal of faith the cause is just and the argument is correct. We have had many, many debates over health care that have resulted in failure, and it is not at all easy to be optimistic. But I still feel there is a real chance of victory.
And another, Sept 9th, 2009:
On page two he articulates the thought process I was assuming was behind Obama’s apparent “selling out” on the necessity of the public plan option…
To me, the real question — if the discussion is about whether there should be a public plan — is what would take its place? So far I’ve seen no proposals that have a real viable alternative to having this public plan competing with private insurance. That public plan provides both savings in the legislation, helps make it easier to expand coverage and provides a guarantee of a much greater degree of certainty that there will be long-term efforts to control costs and improve the quality of care.
I feel better. At the same time, I’m wondering if, since The Party Of No is going to keep on just saying no to any and everything no matter what…maybe we should just say “screw the public option” and support HR 676?
I mean, this really is doable, politics be damned. I’m pretty sure we could actually get a lot of openminded consevatives on board if we presented what’s the most logical course of action. Really, this is what we should have been doing all along.
Look at out healthcare expenditures compared to other nations.
Source (chart 11-7)
Everyone else is able to cover their ENTIRE POPULATION on what we pay for Medicare and Medicaid ALONE. Something is seriously wrong here. I mean, WTF??? We should be able to figure out what’s we’re doing wrong and switch to single payer without even raising taxes! Then, we wouldn’t even be “nationalizing” more of the economy or anything. (that stuff that makes conservatives think we’re really communists or whatever.)