December 9, 2009

Senate Democrats Compromise on Health Care

v146.jpgIt would be premature to spend much time on the recently announced Senate health care compromise. Details remain sketchy, and I imagine that there will be plenty of time to examine the bill as it moves to the next stage. Based on what I'm hearing so far, there doesn't seem to be much reason to celebrate. In fact, it sounds like it would be appropriate to call this one a big win for the insurance companies.

Observers have long speculated that a meaningful public option would eventually be scrapped and that all sides would declare victory. One side would claim that they defeated the public option, and another side would simultaneously claim that the final result really was a public option but was being called something else for strategic purposes. It looks to me like this is already beginning to happen.

If the Senate compromise does indeed extend Medicare coverage down to those 55 or older, this sounds like a step in the right direction. At least, it would if we assume that they will have real Medicare and not some scaled back version. Of course, this raises the question of how such a bill would help anyone under 55. That is not yet clear.

I say that this looks like a win for the insurance companies because it appears that they are going to gain a mandate for Americans to buy their product without many meaningful regulations on their many questionable business practices. Hopefully, some of the better parts of the House bill will find their way into the Senate version. After all, someone has to represent the people, don't they?

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