Sunday, October 04, 2009

What's wrong with simplicity, anyway?

I want to suggest that you go take a look at an article called "Democrats Ponder Health-Care Suicide" by Robert Parry. Here's an excerpt:

What Americans want is affordable health coverage provided in as simple a package as possible.

That was the finding of a New York Times/CBS News poll which discovered widespread confusion about the health proposals taking shape in Congress, but more than 2-1 support for a public option to compete with private insurers -- 65 percent for a public option, 26 percent against and 9 percent no opinion. [NYT, Sept. 25, 2009]

After all, one of the attractions of the public option is its relative simplicity and cost-effectiveness. It could piggyback on the existing Medicare bureaucracy and thus get started quickly and cheaply. According to congressional budget analysts, it is the only plan that offers significant cost savings.

Cost savings would not only help reduce the federal deficit but they would mean that more Americans would get the health care they need without going broke. In other words, it would save lives, reduce housing foreclosures, and protect families now being ripped apart by brutal financial pressures.

Yet, despite this common sense - and broad voter support for the public option - the Senate Finance Committee rejected the idea. Chairman Baucus conceded that the concept was appealing, but he joined other conservative Democrats in voting no, claiming a public option couldn't clear the 60-vote hurdle to stop a Republican filibuster.

So, instead of trying to rally the votes - or using the "reconciliation process" that allows a simple majority to enact legislation having budget implications - Baucus kept on cobbling together a nearly incomprehensible construct of tax credits, income formulas, fees and other mumbo-jumbo.

I really agree with that first sentence I've quoted above. I think it's true and I don't understand why the politicians don't get it.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:15 PM

    It took me weeks of reading policies to help my mom decide which form/company she should use for Part D. The language of the policies was legalese and it was very difficult to choose -- and, of course, the policies all changed what drugs they would cover the next year. I can see that the insurance companies will try the same kind of boondoggle with the healthcare reform policies. If they do, we're all screwed.


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