Yesterday we explained the key points in the healthcare reform plan outlined by Senator Max Baucus.
The basic idea: Everyone must buy health insurance, but insurance companies can no longer exclude or price out anyone based on pre-existing conditions. The poor, meanwhile, would be given subsidies, paid for be certain tax hikes and cost-savings in medicare.
Despite yesterday’s hullaballoo, the plan is already DOA. No Republican supports it, and several Democrats have already complained about it. Besides, if the Dems are going to go it alone, why not support a plan with a public option, which is what they all want?
But Republicans, if only for pragmatic reasons, should get behind the Baucus bill, which the President would likely sign if it came to his desk.
The reason: Eventually, if current trends persist, it’s going to be easy to get a single-payer, universal healthcare bill passed, the likes of which is favoured by the far left. In 1994, Hillarycare was a disaster. But in the last 15 years, tens of millions have lost their health insurance, inflation has skyrocketed, and now the Democrats are probably just one or two votes shy of something like Hillarycare getting passed. It’s gotten a lot easier, because the perception is that healthcare has gotten so much worse.
In 10 years, passing a universal healthcare bill could well be a slam dunk.
The Baucus plan is far from ideal, but if it passses, it’s likely that government-run health insurance will be dead. The Baucus plan would take us down a totally different path, pushing us close to universal coverage, while maintaining some semblance of a private market (whether we even have a private market now is up for debate, of course).
Sure, it goes against Republican philosophy. But in the long term, it’s the right strategic move.
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