Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Compromise is in the Air for Health Reform

September 8 - President Obama is meeting with his advisors to craft a speech for his September 9 speech before Congress. Obama desperately needs to present something the left, right, and center can buy into.

This buy-in will take compromise. Compromise proposals, now floating among Democrat and Republican leaders, includes,

• Low cost insurance with a catastrophic lid for those 25 or younger.

• Basic coverage for poor people now ineligible for Medicaid.

• A non-profit member-owned insurance cooperative in the states.

• A stripped-down benefits package for people with good income who heretofore have chosen not to be insured.

• A requirement that insurers report proportion of premiums spent on non-medical expenses.

• A requirement that hospitals list standard charges for all services.

As Edmund Burke (1729-1797) observed, “All government, indeed every human benefit, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.” Even though it is late in the game, let the horse-trading begin.

The horse trading may take some time. Health reform, after all, is a mighty big horse. One big horse - the public option horse - is dead for now. Another big horse - a $6 billion fee on health insurance in exchange for bringing 46 million uninsured onto their rolls - is said to be still alive and kicking.

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