Saturday, 5 December 2009

No One is Better than Ezra

The achievement of this bill is $900 billion to help people purchase health-care coverage, a new market that begins to equalize the conditions of the unemployed and the employed, and a regulatory structure in which this country can build, for the first time, a universal health-care system. Thousands and thousands of lives will be saved by this bill. Bankruptcies will be averted. Rescission letters won't be sent. Parents won't have to fret because they can't take their child, or themselves, to the emergency room. This bill will, without doubt, do more good than any single piece of legislation passed during my (admittedly brief) lifetime. If it passes, the party that fought for it for decades deserves to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Sorry for turning this blog into an Ezra Klein appreciation society, but when someone is that good they should get their props.

I entirely share Ezra's concern that this bill, potentially the greatest victory for Progressive Americans since Roosevelt passed Social Security (and in one stroke solved the problem of drastic poverty amongst seniors), may wind up with liberals achieving a victory and declaring defeat.

And in any case, although I want a public option, but I'm just not convinced it's anywhere NEAR as important as other features of the bill that seem to get much less attention.

Consider, for example, the case of the Medicare Commission - which was quietly killed in the House and is threatened in the Senate. By taking control over Medicare costs away from the politicised congressional process and putting it in the hands of actual, ya know, health care types this feature could do more to cut the cost of health care in a stroke than the fairly weak-tea public option currently proposed ever could.

But I bet you'd never heard of the Medicare Commission proposals until now, right?

My point, exactly.

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