Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Future of Healthcare Reform

Unless you're living under a rock, you've surely heard that the GOP won Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat putting the Democrats one vote shy of a filibuster-proof super-majority.

The big question is what will happen with the healthcare reform bill(s). So far the options seem to be:

1) The House can pass the Senate bill as-is.
2) The Senate can employ the "nuclear option" and pass a conference bill with 51 votes.
3) The whole thing could die and go away as it did in the 90's.
4) The whole thing could start over with a GOP that can demand to be involved.

I fear we'll get 1 or 2. I deeply hope we get #4.

I really don't want #3. There are a lot of reasons why healthcare reform went away for more than a decade after the death of HillaryCare, but it was a mistake. It's not one we want to repeat.

Even if I don't get everything I want in reform (which is almost certain), Congress could do some real good if they'd drop the bickering, posturing, and ideological wishlists and tackle those issues most Americans can agree on.

We can get more people insured and lower the cost of insurance if we open up interstate insurance markets. We can create a pool for those who have problems getting health insurance that isn't a "public option." We can come down on those who look for a loophole to drop insurees after they get sick. We can reduce the cost of providing medical care by instituting some basic tort reforms.

We can improve our health care system without turning it upside down or making it an arm of the federal government. And we need to Congress that's exactly what we want.

Maybe now they'll listen.

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