Kucinich Amendment May Save Health Reform
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Posted on July 17, 2009, Printed on July 17, 2009
No time today for a lengthy analysis of the Tri-Committee health bill. My quick-and-dirty take is this.Those who think the bill is a wonderful progressive victory with a robust public option are wrong, and, on the flip side, the charge that it’s a “bailout for the insurance industry” is totally divorced from what the bill would actually do if passed.
It is the most progressive, comprehensive and significant health care legislation to come down the pike since Medicare was passed in 1965. If it were enacted as written, it’d go a long way to solving a lot of our problems (but by no means all) and wouldn’t break the bank in the process. (I’ll have more next week on the good, the bad and the ugly in the new bill.)
But it also fails some of the basic criteria that most progressives have long said is a red-line that can’t be crossed. First and foremost, it doesn’t have a public option that can compete with private insurers and result in significant cost savings.
It has a public plan in which — as far as the statute goes (it can be expanded in 2015 but there’s no mandate to do so) — only 9-10 million people will be eligible to enroll by 2019. Similarly, the publicly-administered exchanges are projected to cover about 30 million by that year. (These relatively small insurance pools will be able to bargain in concert with Medicare to some degree, so their power will be magnified, but still…)