Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Left, Right and Wrong on Health Care

If you doubt that liberal and conservative have lost all meaning in the health care debate, consult the New York Times' columnists of those persuasions.

On the left, Paul Krugman predicts reform "will be undermined by 'centrist' Democratic senators who either prevent the passage of a bill or insist on watering down key elements...

"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."

On the right, David Brooks insists: "We’ve built an entire health care system (maybe an entire government) on the illusion of something for nothing. Instead of tackling that basic logic, we’ve got a reform process that is trying to evade it."

Brooks argues for a plan by Democrat Ron Wyden and Republican Robert Bennett to repeal tax exemptions for insurance premiums and provide universal coverage. "The Wyden-Bennett bill has 14 bipartisan co-sponsors and the Congressional Budget Office has found that it would be revenue-neutral," he claims, but Senate Committee leaders of both parties are concentrating instead on "grand rhetoric and superficial cost containment."

The political hot air on Capitol Hill is filled with nonsense from both sides of the aisles, and so far the White House has been unwilling to make them stop the political blather and face reality.

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