Choice is Clear

Following yesterday’s “health care summit”, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have a clear cut choice to make. In a mostly positive manner Congressional Republicans laid out their position as clear as one could expect. Their position is “the current health care delivery system costs too much and so Republicans see no reason to add more people to the health care rolls”. They seem to not worry about anyone unfortunate enough to loose or not be have coverage, and chalk it up to “that’s life”.

Republicans dressed up their position with various claims such as:

  • Proposed bill will increase deficit. (CBO estimates are that deficit would decrease not increase.  Full disclosure is that doing nothing is projected increase the deficit, and this bill would make the increase a little less.)
  • Proposed bill would hurt older Americans by cutting Medicare. (Most experts agree that there is plenty of room in the current Medicare program to trim costs without taking away from necessary services, and with AARP aged citizens representing a huge voting block, it is difficult to see a reduction in Medicare services across the board.)
  • Proposed bill is not what Americans want, and that’s why Republicans are against it. (Actually almost all the provisions of the bill when polled separately are favored by a majority of Americans. With all the confusion created by Republicans and other conservatives, it is no wonder people are unsure the total bill is a good idea.

Democrats also did a disservice to Americans by not making a stronger case for reducing health care costs. With any dispassionate review of health care among modern industrialized countries, it is inescapable to see that the US has by far the most expensive health care (we spend the most), and a system that is not superior to these other countries.

So, America is left with the choice of continuing with a system that will increases in cost each year at rates 2-3 times the rate of inflation, will continue to generate a larger and larger number of people priced out of the market each year, will continue to deny coverage to people with “pre-existing conditions”, and will leave millions of working Americans (those earning more than Medicaid maximum incomes) uninsured (the very poor qualify for Medicaid and can get coverage), or we can take a first step in achieving fairness.

It is still murky whether Democrats can unite to pass President Obama’s plan. What is clear is that this plan is not enough to really tackle costs and that must come next. Once all Americans are covered, some of the Republican ideas (such as malpractice reform, buying insurance across State lines, and payment for illness incident, not for each service) bare serious consideration and then we will see if they really hold water.

Explore posts in the same categories: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party

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