Bloggers just can’t get enough of the Senate Finance Committee health bill…
Bob Laszewski says that ”we could be on our way to devastating the health insurance risk pool” with the Baucus bill “all but gutting” fines for not buying insurance, which may result in not enough healthy or young people buying policies to help stabilize the risk.
Cato’s Michael Cannon says a “fail-safe” inserted into the Finance bill that would automatically cut the cost of the bill should it increase the deficit would be ineffective since “automatic spending cuts never work because today’s Congress cannot bind future Congresses.”
Keith Hennessey writes, “numbers matter,” and spotlights “important numbers and economic forces in these bills that are receiving insufficient attention.”
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein points out a key difference between reform in 1994 and 2009: “Health-care reform never came to a vote. No one ever had to vote for it or against it. Nor did it ever face down a filibuster. It collapsed long before any procedural impediments were put in its way. This year, something would have to change very drastically for health-care reform to collapse before a vote. That means the few swing votes are going to have to face the pressure of standing in the way of the Democratic Party’s top priority since the days of Harry Truman.”
The Huffington Post broke a story Thursday afternoon that’s been getting a lot of attention — according to Sam Stein, “Senate Democrats have begun discussions on a compromise approach to health care reform that would establish a robust, national public option for insurance coverage but give individual states the right to opt out of the program.” The New Republic’s Suzy Khimm responds, “the fact that we’ve moved from discussing the viability of having a bill at all to trying to hammer out the details is a promising sign overall.”
Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum looks at why the U.S. health care system costs so much more than other countries:
We can jabber all we want about incentives and greed and systemic waste, but the bottom line is that if we want to do anything more than nip around the edges, we’d have to pay doctors and nurses less, pay pharmaceutical companies less, pay insurance companies less (or get rid of them entirely), pay hospitals less, and pay device makers less. That’s a lot of very rich and powerful interests who will fight to the death to prevent any serious cost cutting, and it’s why Obama and the Democrats in Congress have largely chosen to buy them off instead.