Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Health Care Fallbacks

The Obama White House is waffling on the public option and making piecemeal deals with providers, as hospitals now agree to sacrifice $155 billion over 10 years toward the cost of insuring 47 million Americans without coverage.

With the Administration conceding it "won't draw a line in the sand" and citing the Bush prescription-drug benefit in 2003 as a precedent, real health care reform is receding into a politics-as-usual charade to give the illusion of Change while making marginal improvements.

Now, the catch phrase is "trigger mechanism" that would let a public plan come into play when "competition was judged to be lacking," an evasion of breathtaking vagueness.

With Ted Kennedy on the sidelines, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is weakened in its efforts to push for an immediate public plan, but rhetoric is still strong.

Sen. Chuck Schumer is emoting: "If it's not there on day one, those of us who support a public option have a real problem with it."

Not exactly "We have just begun to fight," but with true reform approaching critical condition, the vital signs are growing weaker. Those who want to rage against the dying of the light had better make their voices heard soon.

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