Tuesday, 25 August 2009

What's the Up Side?

Ezra Klein, is typically sensible on the real opportunities presented by health care reform today. To those in my "crew" who are saying things to me like, "the public option is everything," I respectfully disagree. I'm willing to fight tooth and nail for a public option because I agree with the experts who say that it is the best way to bring down the costs from private insurers.

But what about the expansion of Medicaid to 133 percent of the poverty line? That's a solid 20 million poor Americans who don't have coverage now, and will soon. What about the out-of-pocket caps, so no one goes medically bankrupt ever again? Or the assurance that no insurer can ever discriminate based on a preexisting condition? Or the subsidies for working Americans who can't quite afford coverage? Or the requirements that insurers spend more money on medical care and less money on premiums? Or the guarantee that the gruesome practice of rescission will finally end?
Even the weakest, shabbiest compromise bill currently on the table would be the most dramatic health care reform ever. And would, for example, be miles more progressive than what Howard Dean presented during his 2004 Presidential run - and nowadays Howard Dean is saying that a public plan is essential. We are SO MUCH better off on the prospects for real reform than we have ever been. One reason I'm surprisingly optimistic about all this...

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