Here’s a quote about the upcoming health care fight from economist Paul Krugman’s New York Times column for Monday, 6/22/09:
“The real risk is that health care reform will be undermined by “centrist” Democratic senators who either prevent the passage of a bill or insist on watering down key elements of reform. I use scare quotes around “centrist,” by the way, because if the center means the position held by most Americans, the self-proclaimed centrists are in fact way out in right field.
What the balking Democrats seem most determined to do is to kill the public option, either by eliminating it or by carrying out a bait-and-switch, replacing a true public option with something meaningless. For the record, neither regional health cooperatives nor state-level public plans, both of which have been proposed as alternatives, would have the financial stability and bargaining power needed to bring down health care costs.
Whatever may be motivating these Democrats, they don’t seem able to explain their reasons in public.”
Mr. Krugman is referring to the element of the proposed new insurance-based national health care plan that would establish a public insurer for people to go to when they couldn’t get, or afford, private health insurance. Without the necessity of throwing off a constant stream of profit to shareholders, the public insurer could presumably provide cheaper and better insurance than the private health insurance companies we’ve all learned to know and hate.
The competition thus provided might even cause private insurers to cut their rates!
But the good old “Blue Dog” democrats, among them my own state’s Senator Mary Landrieu, are trying to kill this eminently reasonable provision.
Without the public insurer, the new health care plan will just be a windfall for doctors and private health insurers, since the former could bill as optimistically as they do now, and the latter would have to be given subsidies to make their profit-hungry insurance products affordable to the poor and lower middle class persons that the government is trying to extend coverage to. And so overall medical costs would continue to grow fast, just as they do now.
If you are a fellow Louisianian, or even just a concerned person anywhere, you might want to read up on this subject. Here’s an interesting set of poll results to start with:
And then perhaps you would contact Senator Landrieu about her pro-insurance-companies position through this url: