Verdict from the Health Care Summitt: No Chance of Compromise or Agreement

Having watched or listened to about half of today’s health care summit, one thing is painfully obvious:  there is no chance of compromise.  And there is a simple reason:  the two sides do not want the same thing.  It is one thing to compromise and give and take if the goal of two negotiating parties is the same.  But here, what Democrats want and what Republicans want is drastically different.  What you heard from Republicans is they want incremental change so that may be an additional 3 million people will get coverage.  The Democrats, on the other hand, have had enough with incremental change, and aim to cover more than 30 million people.  Since both parties do not want universal coverage or incremental change to bring down some people’s premium and give a few more people coverage, there is nothing really to compromise.  Given that the Republicans do not aim to cover most, if not all, of the uninsured, there is nothing that Democrats can given them.

The Republicans have taken a Burkean position of not wanting to change the system that drastically.  Nibble around edges with malpractice reform and the farces known as high risk pools and cross border sales of insurance.  But all this is doing is kicking a can down the road. And before you think that cross border sales of insurance are such a good idea just think about your credit cards.  If you think they are working for you and you like their terms, that is what you would get with cross border sales under the Republican proposal.  They would allow NYers to buy from companies in all of the states.  However, NY could not have consumer protections and set minimum standards for what is covered and how insurers can act towards their insureds.  This would result in all of the companies locating to the state that offers the least amount of regulations and medical requirements.  It will most likely by SD as they did with the credit card companies.  The SD legislature and governor got credit card jobs in return for allowing the credit card companies write the rules.  And because of federal law, consumer’s own states could not enact additional consumer protections.  This lead to credit card companies being allowed to raise interest rates without notice and even on purchases that had already been made.  And there was no competition of terms so consumers have no choice.  The same would occur with the insurance market.  I am all for cross border sales so long as there are minimum standards and protections.  And there is such a proposal and it is called a national exchange like the one that federal employees have access to.

The Democrats in the House need to buckle down, pass the Senate bill and then work on the changes they want using reconciliation.  It is the way we have enacted all but 1 health care bill in the last 30 years.  Everything from COBRA protections (COBRA actually stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget RECONCILIATION Act) to SCHIP to the Medicare Reductions under the 1997 Budget Act was enacted using reconciliation.  Democrats are going to lose seats in November regardless of what they do.  They have already taken the votes on health care.  Finish the job and having something to show for having majorities in both houses.  If not, you will not get another chance in your lifetime.  Ted Kennedy should have taken the deal he worked out with Nixon in 1973.  He did not, and never saw universal coverage enacted.  Is the Senate bill perfect–not by any stretch of the imagination.  But it is better than the status quo.  Social Security was not perfect when enacted in the 1930s.  It covered only 50% of hte population.  But over years of amendment it has come to cover almost the entire population.



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One Response to “Verdict from the Health Care Summitt: No Chance of Compromise or Agreement”

  1. The Truth on Reconciliation « Political Junkie Goes Hollywood Says:

    […] Political Junkie Goes Hollywood Part of Bill O’s Vast Left Wing Conspiracy « Verdict from the Health Care Summitt: No Chance of Compromise or Agreement […]

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