15 August 2009

The art of compromise

Economic View - A Public Option Isn’t a Curse, or a Cure - NYTimes.com
To the Republicans, I say this: If you can get real assurances that the public option has to break even, and that it will get no special deals from suppliers, let the Democrats have it but ask for concessions on tort reform in return. (That could actually save some money.) The resulting public plan will be too small to notice.

To the Democrats, I say this: If you want competition in health care, you won’t get it if the public option can make deals its competitors can’t. So either give the Republicans hard assurances that the public option would have to break even and not get special treatment, or, better yet, just give it up to ensure that some useful health care reform is passed. A public option is neither necessary nor sufficient for achieving the real goals of reform, and those goals are too important to risk losing the war.
This sounds like sense to me on both sides.  I had been wondering the same thing myself.  Legislative horse-trading goes on all the time.  Why wouldn't Senate republicans say to Obama: "Fine, we'll give you a limited public plan, and in return we want real meaningful medical malpractice reform."

Maybe they did, and Dems said no (in which case they are idiots).  Or maybe the republicans aren't really interested in actually making compromises -- their path to electoral victory leads through successful opposition.  I don't know, but it's a pity.  Health insurance reform with a public option and malpractice reform would be the best of all possible outcomes. 

(Lions via WaterTiger, just 'cause they're cute)

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