The House and Senate draft bills for health care restructuring are so odious that they are beyond repair.
It’s nice that Max Baucus and some others are trying to squeeze some of the disastrous provisions out of the bills, but it is a waste of time. Even if the left-wing of the Democratic Party were to allow compromise, there is so much wrong with the current proposals, so many nuggets of bureaucratic deviousness hidden in hundreds of obscure, often cross-referenced, provisions, that it is like squeezing soap from a sponge. Every time you think it is all gone, another squeeze brings more of the mischief to the surface.
Here are links to a few of my prior posts exposing just some of the truly hideous aspects of the current bills:
Throw out this stinking sponge. Start over.
Find a relatively small number of reform (not restructuring) provisions on which most people agree. On the insurance side, create a national insurance market, improve insurance portability so that people do not lose their coverage when they lose a job, create a pool for hard-to-insure or uninsurable patients and markets for low-cost catastrophic insurance so that no one faces bankruptcy from health care bills.
On the cost side, introduce provisions, such as easy-to-use health savings accounts, which give consumers an incentive to price and quality shop for health services much as they price and quality shop for other professional services and a host of consumer products. In the face of the consumer, medical providers will have an incentive to compete as to quality and cost.
Create tens of millions of private health care cost czars who make their own cost and quality decisions as to their own lives with their own money. Maintain the current safety net for those who through no fault of their own are unable to provide for themselves, but keep the focus on shrinking the need for a safety net through insurance and cost reforms.
And above all, first do no harm to the hundreds of millions of Americans who have insurance coverage and health care services with which they are happy. Take things one step at a time by starting on proposals on which there is widespread consensus, rather than on a grand plan to restructure society based on provisions on which there is widespread disagreement.
The Democratic health care sponge is so smelly and rancid that we have to find a different path forward.