Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Health Care Horse Trading

In President Obama's house call on the AMA today, the medicine may be coated with a little sugar for doctors that will be a bitter pill for lawyers, setting limits on malpractice suits.

Such horse trading is par for the course in politics, but when the legislation gets into the final stretch, bedside manner won't be able to sooth away the critical issue--a public plan to keep private insurers honest.

Today's Wall Street Journal plays Paul Revere, sounding the alarm that "The 'Public Plan' Would Be the Only Plan," arguing that "It's impossible for private insurers to 'compete' with government." Such despair over free markets is unusual for the Journal and will certainly come as news to FedEx and e-mail providers who never should have challenged the federal postal system.

The air will be filled this week with similar pitches for sticking with old-time elixirs and, for the first time in quite a while, voters have a chance to lean on their Congressional barkers with messages through all channels about their wishes.

One of my own, Joe Lieberman, asserts there is "a real opportunity to do this year what we've been trying to do for years...reform American health care. I think the one thing that will stop that is pressure on the so-called public option. Let's get something done instead of having a debate."

I'll be sending back Dr. Lieberman's snake oil prescription with one of my own, hoping that millions of others, including the Physician-in-Chief, will do the same for Washington's political quacks.

1 comment:

Yellow Dog Don said...

The Republican senators will surely drop their government insurance to pick up a private plan.

Don't hold your breath.