Saturday, November 21, 2009

Closer To Reform

Barack Obama hasn't gotten health care reform legislation pushed through Congress yet, but he's one giant step closer. The Senate just voted to allow debate on the bill, and a public insurance option is in it, just like the House version. The President and his allies in Congress have gotten this legislation farther than any other President who who tried to reform health care ever could.
There's still a long way to go. At least three Democratic senators oppose a public option, Republicans are trying to delay the whole bill in order to kill it, and anything the Senate passes has to be reconciled with the House. Some liberals still steaming from the lack of a single-payer plan like Medicare are annoyed that the plan is being kept on a tight budget to avoid increasing the deficit.
Incidentally, I've changed my mind on letting health insurance companies compete across state lines. That idea seemed to make sense until it was pointed out that health insurance companies could easily sell policies in states like New Jersey, which has tough consumer protection laws, yet operate from Texas, where no such laws exist. It's no different from the credit card companies offering fabulous credit terms out of states like Delaware and South Dakota, where the credit card industry is unencumbered by strict regulations, to rubes all across America.
Most laws and policies that come of out Congress are wrought from compromises, although the compromises on health care reform must be making the great Kentucky legislator Henry Clay spin in his grave. But the health care bill that should eventually get to Obama's desk, while imperfect, will be better than what we have now.
Just not as good as Britain's National Health.

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