Bloggers continue to focus on the various facets of the health overhaul debate, in particular, that the Finance Committee bill needs additional funding.
Bob Laszewski pounds away at the Finance Committee bill, which he argues could “make access even more problematic” because of insufficient subsidies for middle-income families in the context of a weakened individual mandate. Laszewski also takes time to blast AHIP for bad PR strategy, saying, “I swear, if AHIP issued a press release on a crystal clear day telling DC the sun was shining no one would believe them.”
Heritage’s Brian Darling is upset with reports that the health overhaul bills are being crafted “in secret:” “Democracy does not begin and end on Election Day for the American people. Whether you are for or against Obamacare, we the people deserve an opportunity to read, digest and understand the most important health care legislation to be debated in the United States Senate in our lifetime. The American people relied upon the promise of the Obama Administration and the leadership in Congress to be open and transparent, therefore it is time to stop the closed door negotiations and allow the American people to participate in the democratic process.”
Health Beat’s Maggie Mahar argues that insurers are “running scared” because “the public sector option is still alive.” With this point, she says she means “Medicare E (Medicare for everyone)” which she describes as “a public option for patients under 65, run by the federal government. The scent of real competition is what has insurers on the run.”
Perhaps the public option is still breathing, but according to Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey, not because of much help from President Obama: “Is this leadership? It’s a passive-aggressive approach that leaves both progressives and moderates in Obama’s own party twisting in the wind. Obama wants his advisers to take all of the flak from progressive action groups that will result from a retreat on government-run health insurance, but doesn’t have the stomach to take that hit himself. The end result is confusion among legislators on Capitol Hill, and further entrenchment on either side of the issue.”
The New Republic’s staff editorial argues that lawmakers’ “desire to expand health insurance coverage exceeds their willingness to pay for it,” and they need to find more money for the health bills but are running into roadblocks:
With so many ways to raise revenue, finding some combination capable of winning majorities in both chambers would seem simple. It isn’t. Liberals don’t like the insurance excise tax, in no small part because unions don’t want it affecting older workers who won generous benefits in past collective bargaining agreements. Centrists want no part of taxes outside the health care system, particularly those that target the wealthy. And neither group seems seriously interested in extracting more concessions from the health care industry, which may have a little something to do with the fact that it bankrolls so many political campaigns.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein uses an answer from Sen. Olympia Snowe to take a big picture look at health reform efforts this year, arguing, “We have a conservative system of government (in that it’s very hard to change the status quo), and [Democratic lawmakers] designed health-care reform to be sensitive to that fact.”
Mark Trahant looks at another issue in the health overhaul debate: an exemption for Indian Americans to the requirement to purchase insurance. According to Trahant, “But even if you agree with the exemption – as I do – there remains another issue to resolve, the money. Unless health care reform substantially improves the funding stream for the Indian health care delivery system, then the individual exemption is only a guarantee of permanent disparity.”