One of the misconceptions in the healthcare debate is that single payer is the only way to keep healthcare costs down. Countries like the Netherlands and Japan keep healthcare costs much lower than ours and have much better quality healthcare than ours with mostly private systems.
All our legislature needs to do is legislate costs by offering a basic but substantial healthcare plan all healthcare providers must provide at a minimum just like the Netherlands does now. If people want more coverage they can pay more for it without everyone having to pay more. Matt Yglesias suggested that the need for a public option was also a “lame” way to avoid legislating since single payer was off the table. The truth is the public option is really a cowards way out to hopefully create competition when competition can be created through legislation as well.
A huge amendment passed in the Senate Finance Committee bill that everyone seemed to missed. People can opt out of healthcare insurance if their premiums exceed 8%. This takes a huge burden off of working families who do not want to pay for overpriced insurance. It hurts the cause of universal coverage but if that coverage only includes private healthcare it should not have a strong mandate with huge penalties.
One idea out there that progressives will probably reject as a sell out I find intriguing at least politically. Some Democrats are discussing a public option where states can opt out of the program. Sure citizens in states who reject the public option will be hurt by that plan but in this case it will be Republican governors and legislators that will be under fire for not supporting the people’s wishes. Looking at it dispassionately that way it’s a pretty ingenious way of making the GOP demonize itself. Furthermore think of the competitive advantages Democratically controlled states will have over Republic states. We might finally see jobs moving back from the South to the Midwest for instance.
A public option is necessary to fill in the gaps the legislators will make by failing to legislate and for long term strategical reasons but it will probably be a weaker public option at first.
Go to Speaker’s Corner to pay your respects, for life this time, not death. Thank you. 🙂
The Germans and Dutch, among others, regulate insurance as if it were a utility, which it is.
The worse part is at least other utilities like electricity and water are providers but insurance companies offer nothing to society except a pool of money from their customers that they refuse to dole out as much as possible.
If I thought I could get a job there, I’d move to Germany in a heartbeat!
😆 Well my own hospital, Keio hospital, is huge and always full, mainly the elderly though. I sometimes wonder when listening to their conversations, if they don’t all gather there in the early morning to chat with their friends. Most of them look healthier than I do, some of them have come along with their friends to keep them company or just to collect their medication.
I’ve been going there with my illness since 87′ and don’t really want to go anymore, I’ve had enough of hospitals to last me a lifetime, not going is not an option but I’m relieved when I can come home. I should go to have my knee aspirated but we have a big outbreak of swine flu here, over 800 now, I’m staying home until it blows over. If something happened to me, who would feed the kitties??
Actually the Japanese Healthcare system is highly regulated by the government and works very well for everyone. We pay just 30% of our medical bills for hospital visits, the rest is payed out of the taxes we pay each month.
Private insurance is needed for treating diseases such as cancer or paying for your room during your hospital stay, it costs on average about
Yup you were part of the inspiration for this piece. The Japanese system is still about half the cost of the American system. In fact the one of the few problem I’ve read about with the Japanese system is they cannot keep hospitals filled enough because the populous at large is too healthy.