27 April 2007

208 Commission in the Post

Jim Spencer, news columnist for the Denver Post, wrote a great column today about Colorado's (208) Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform's task of finding the best three to five of 28 proposals for comprehensive reform that they've received.
None of the proposals assumes people are not entitled to treatment if they cannot pay retail. The hardest question the commission must answer is the private/public mix in the provision of health care. Still, no one argues for the status quo.
Spencer interviewed Service Employees International Union's Colorado point man for health care and Dr. Rocky White, an Alamosa physician, conservative rancher, and Health Care for All Colorado board member. Both SEIU and Health Care for All Colorado submitted proposals to the commission. Rocky was lead author for HCAC's proposal. Spencer described Rocky's proposal as being, "the simplest, most progressive and most controversial of the commission's proposals."

Spencer got right to the heart of the problem when he quoted an advisor to SEIU, who said that what is easiest to administrate — single-payer — may be hardest to approve politically.

This advisor helped Mitt Romney come up with the Massachusetts scheme, which is ticking away — before it even begins — with costs overruns and inadequate plans that people will be forced to buy. "Republicans support the subsidized purchase of private health insurance," he told Spencer.

That is such a mystery to me — but it must be related to what our friend Jack Long says: People are either scared of the wealthy or of the government.

So they'd rather go with inefficiencies that is on course to bankrupt individual families and the government as well, all in the name of free markets. Except if the government is subsidizing private insurance, they're not free markets. Bush's Health and Human Services secretary, Mike Leavitt, recently said that government's role in healthcare should be to "manage markets." If that's the case, why not manage them right, and take private insurance out of the game?

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