19 July 2009

Fun Links

Some good stuff out there in the health wonk world this weekend.

President Obama put the call out in his weekly address to "Seize the opportunity for health care reform, or lose it for a generation":

It's good. He stakes out some fairly clear turf on insurance company regulation and the public insurance plan:
That’s why any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange: a one-stop shopping marketplace where you can compare the benefits, cost and track records of a variety of plans – including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest – and choose what’s best for your family. And that’s why we’ll put an end to the worst practices of the insurance industry: no more yearly caps or lifetime caps; no more denying people care because of pre-existing conditions; and no more dropping people from a plan when they get too sick.
Better, he goes point by point in rebutting some of the zombie lies out there about the "government bureaucrats" and "socialized medicine:"
Finally, opponents of health reform warn that this is all some big plot for socialized medicine or government-run health care with long lines and rationed care. That’s not true either. I don’t believe that government can or should run health care. But I also don’t think insurance companies should have free reign to do as they please.
It won't convince those who pathologically insist that everything he says is false, but it's nice to see him finally taking on the fearmongers and liars who are attacking the plans.

Obama also takes on the Republicans: "The same folks who controlled the White House and Congress for the past eight years as we ran up record deficits will argue – believe it or not – that health reform will lead to record deficits.  That’s simply not true."

It's good to see the point made, as Yglesias does: Bush's unfunded Medicare part D cost $750 Billion, and his tax cuts cost $1.35 Trillion, and when it politically benefited them, the conservatives (and "moderates") happily ran up deficits.  Now that they do not stand to get the credit and the electoral benefit, suddenly fiscal conservatism is reborn.  What a bunch of cynical hypocrites.  Unlike the Republicans, however, at least the Democrats are trying to be responsible and develop funding mechanisms for their reforms.



In Newsweek, Ted Kennedy Speaks Out on Health-Care Reform giving a personal and passionate history of what he calls ‘The Cause of My Life’.  The key point he makes is how the drive for universal health care failed under Teddy Roosevelt, Truman, Nixon, Carter, and Clinton.  Put simply:
We can't afford to wait another generation
It's also a moving story of Kennedy's own experience as a consumer of health care, from a plane crash in 1964, to his childrens' battles with cancer, to his own current battle with brain cancer.  It's a long article, and leaves you with a sense of how deeply Teddy cares about this very personal issue he has worked on for so long.

White House uber-wonk Peter orszag points out the obvious: Opponents are using delays to kill health care reform
White House budget director Peter Orszag expects health care reform bills by August. Orszag says some are trying to slow down the process in an attempt to kill it. "The typical Washington bureaucratic game of — ‘if you don’t have a better alternative, just delay in the hope that that kills something’ is partly what’s playing out here," said Orszag.
You don't say.


1 comment:

Not Dead Yet said...

All the health care in the world won't bring back Mary Jo. Too late for her.