Healthcare Politics To The Max

As the Times points out, because of the way the political cards have fallen, Sen. Max Baucus from my home state of Montana finds himself in a position of significant power regarding any healthcare reform legislation.

One thing that has bothered me about this debate is the annoyingly effective characterization, by the GOP, of the public option as more of the spendy bleeding-heart socialism that Fox News viewers have come to expect from the ultra-liberal Obama Administration and the Marxist Democratic leaders in Congress.

But the reality is that the option that (it's fairly clear) the Administration wants is very much TO THE POLITICAL RIGHT of a single payer option (much to the chagrin of many progressives), which hasn't even been discussed this time around. Why wasn't it discussed? Because Baucus ruled it out from the beginning. Now, he concedes that was a mistake.

In the interview, Mr. Baucus said he has tried to keep everyone at the table — a tactic he honed discussing tax issues in Montana. “If you don’t like something, suspend judgment for 15 minutes and let’s find a way to get to yes,” Mr. Baucus said.

He conceded that it was a mistake to rule out a fully government-run health system, or a “single-payer plan,” not because he supports it but because doing so alienated a large, vocal constituency and left Mr. Obama’s proposal of a public health plan to compete with private insurers as the most liberal position.


Ry Guy said...

Thank freaking goodness that the "single payer" plan got ruled out early. You think $1 billion bill on the current proposal is large, can you imagine what the price tag would be like on a fully government run health care system?? Wowzers!

Ry Guy said...

Correction: $1 trillion price tag.

Mike Orcutt said...

A good healthcare system, much like a good system of national defense, will be expensive. My definition of a good healtchare system is one in which costs are controlled and quality increases year-to-year.

Healthcare is not like other markets, where competition can drive quality. The competition among the players in the healthcare game is zero-sum.

The current system is apparently wasting a lot of money, as the data shows that quality has DECREASED as premiums and cout-of-pocket costs for doctor visits have skyrocketed. Something drastic ($$) needs to happen in order fix the competion strucure or things are literally going to get ugly, and soon. I think the government is in the best position to make an attempt.