Health Care For America: Blog Roundup

Bill Scher

Lots of blog discussion about the new Health Care for America plan announced last week by Jacob Hacker and the Economic Policy Institute. (Roger Hickey’s post summing up the plan is here.)

Tapped’s Ezra Klein praises the simplicity: “…unlike the other [new] plans, Hacker’s took four sentences to explain. It’s a simple, elegant mechanism for coverage, requiring none of the complex market restructuring and odd coverage schemes of the plans that seek to preserve the private insurance market as a protected whole.”

Matthew Yglesias is impressed with the political approach: “This, to me, is good. It compromises away from the ideal end-state, but does so in a smart way. The idea is less to appease the insurance companies (nice to achieve, but probably impossible) than it is to simply appease people who are happy with their current health insurance situation.”

Iowa Daze notes: “This is the first non-single-payer health plan I’ve seen that would not, in some respect, (Massachusetts, California, and soon-to-be-exploited Iowa) be nothing more than a boondoggle for the benefit of for-profit insurance companies. Well worth a read and further discussion.”

Meanwhile, GoozNews worries about special interest attacks: “opposition to this plan will come from the people who make their daily living from collecting that 16 percent of GDP. And that opposition will be intense. The insurance companies led the last war on health care reform. The drug companies, the device and equipment manufacturers and organized medicine will lead the assault on this or any other plan that is serious about controlling costs.”

Some single-payer health care backers like Matt Stoller of MyDD, and Stirling Newberry and Ian Welsh of The Agonist were critical that Health Care for America would not immediately bring about such a system.

Though Klein notes, Health Care for America’s “secondary virtue is that it offers an easy, potential path to effective single-payer, allowing the government insurer to compete with private insurers, and possibly outcompete them as well.”

Also, Dr. Don McCanne of Physicians for a National Health Program offers a mix of praise and criticism, concluding: “Jacob Hacker’s proposal is a very welcome addition at a time that all options should be on the table. It is such a compelling model that it may shove all others off of the table – except single payer – then we can get down to a serious discussion about reform that really works.”

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