Monday, August 17, 2009

The truth about the President's health care plan?

The truth is, there is no plan.

There is a thriving marketplace of ideas -- many of which have evolved into tome-length statutory proposals.

For example, the plan that gets the most ink is H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. At the moment, this plan contains a "public option."

But there is also H.R. 676, the United States National Health Care Act or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. This is the "single payer" bill. (O Canada!)

There is also a bill drafted by the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee (the HELP Committee, get it?) which consists of 615 pages of light afternoon reading. According to news reports, a key difference between the HELP Committee proposal and H.R. 3200 is that the Senate proposal has no "public option."

I could not find, in my quick search this morning, a link to the proposal touted by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) which calls for not-for-profit health insurance cooperatives instead of a government controlled entity.

While one of these proposals may become law, it will not pass in its present form. Congress is a sausage-grinder. Even if a consensus forms around one plan or another, the details won't be made public until the House-Senate Committee works on a bill reconciling the versions eventually passed by each house.

Thus, there is no plan. There is no up-or-down, take-it-or-leave-it proposal that your Congressperson can say she's for or against.

The President has been perceived as generally in favor of a "public option" in a health care bill and the press has understood this to mean that he supports H.R. 3200 -- but the Obama administration gave clear signals this weekend that it could live without it. Whereupon Howard Dean broke ranks, calling a public option "indispensable." (Meanwhile, in the Senate, Sen. Conrad is telling all and sundry that there aren't the votes for a public option.)

Mr. Obama is correct when he says that bureaucratic interference with doctor-patient relationships, irrational delays, and uncontrolled costs are all features of our largely private health care system right now.

He is, further, correct when he says that reform is needed.

But what, sir, is the plan?


dick7517 said...

Your last sentence sums up the reality of the whole debate on health reform

Shelby said...

It's a secret.

Makes me think of that old cartoon, "Secret Squirrel."

I guess we're a 'need to know basis.'

And we don't need to know yet. (Me rolling my eyes.)

Gotta love town halls and cable tv.

- - -

Things that me you go, hmm.

Shelby said...

Perfect post by the way. Please keep up the commentary on this. You simplify it and make sense of the senseless.