Tired of analyzing policies in the Democrats’ health reform bills with words alone, commentators and activists have turned creative.
First, we have Health Care Harry from public interest advocacy group PIRG.
PIRG’s interactive patient, based on the board game Operation, is plagued by “endless red tape” and the “rug pulled out” from under him. Poor Harry.
Next there’s skeptical Andrew Malcolm of the Los Angeles Times’ Top of the Ticket with a script imagining President Obama as a door-to-door salesman for health reform:
(Doorbell) “Hello. You don’t have a vicious dog, do you? I’m selling healthcare reform on your street and I want to tell you a little about it.”
“Well, we already have healthcare insurance at work and we’re really quite happy with it.”
“Ah, yes, but you might not have it for long because costs are spiraling out of control and…”
“You know what? When did costs ever go down? I paid 27.9 cents a gallon for gas to the prom and $2,400 for a full year of private college.”
“Yes, but 47 million Americans don’t have health insurance and…”
“Well, I’m sorry for them. Truly. But right now our family is more worried about the economy and keeping our own paychecks. How’s that job jolt stimulus thing coming along that was so urgent last winter? Because we haven’t seen…”
“That’s another issue completely. This summer I’m selling healthcare reform. We don’t have all the particulars from Nancy Pelosi and Max Baucus yet, but I can guarantee you the reforms won’t add another dime to the federal deficit.”
“Yeah, right, and the Cubs are gonna win the World Series.”
“They are? Even with Reed Johnson out for a month?”
Uwe Reinhardt on the New York Times’ Economix blog is in a list-making mood: his “All-American Wish List for Health Reform,” is rife with conflicting desires, pointing to a graphic from another article:
But back to wordsmithing, The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn analyzes yesterday’s events on Capitol Hill, noting “reform advocates both on and off Capitol Hill seem more than a little bit concerned.” After reviewing Thursday’s reported deals with Blue Dog dems and developments on the Senate Finance Committee, Cohn concludes:
What happens next? I’m not quite sure. While delays would seem to strengthen the opponents of reform, an August vote was already off the table anyway. It’s not clear this latest stoppage in Finance, at least, is a problem for its own sake. If anything, a little respite might do some good. It’s easy to forget, but congressional staff and the members themselves are human beings, prone to same behavior as anybody else when under stress. Everybody is tired and on edge. Tempers are flaring. This is not an environment conducive to progress of any sort. … In an ideal world, one way or another this latest episode will shake things up in a way that produces better legislation.
Critical Condition’s Tevi Troy critiques Democratic political strategy demonizing insurance companies and rises to the defense:
No one is willing to pay all costs out of pocket because of the risks of catastrophic conditions, and the American people seem fairly exercised about the notion of a government-run public option. This leaves us with private insurers to pay for health coverage, and 70% of covered Americans rate their coverage either good or excellent. …In fact, much of the current debate is about how to get more people, not fewer, covered by private insurance.
Troy says the best way to get better care and insurance coverage is to “promote competition” among insurers by allowing the sale of insurance across state lines.
Wonk Room’s Igor Volksy, who advocates a totally different approach to refrom from Troy, goes after the newest Republican health reform alternative plan and concludes, “Like it’s predecessors, this legislation would break-up employer-based coverage, endanger the coverage of Americans with pre-existing conditions, and drive-up health care spending.”
Finally, the Washington Post’s Ceci Connolly looks at opposing positions of some business groups on health reform.