Robert Reich: With a bit of political jujitsu, the President could turn any such defeat at the Supreme Court into a victory for a single-payer healthcare system – Medicare for all.
Robert Reich: Instead of talking about Medicare as a problem to be fixed, Democrats should start talking about it as a potential solution to the challenge of rising health-care costs — as well as to our long-term budget problem.
Robert Reich: Obama must show America that the basic choice is between two fundamental views of this nation. Either we’re all in this together, or we’re a bunch of individuals who happen to live within these borders and are mainly on their own.
Robert Reich: If successful—either in Congress or in the courts—a Republican victory could turn into a Phyrric one by opening the way to the alternative model, based on the system Americans seem to prefer: payroll taxes and public insurance.
Robert Reich: It’s not nearly as momentous as the passage of Medicare in 1965 and won’t fundamentally alter how Americans think about social safety nets. But the likely passage of Obama’s health care reform bill is the biggest thing Congress has done in decades, and has enormous political significance for the future.
Real reform has moved from a Medicare-like public option open to all, to a public option open to 6 million without employer coverage (still in the House bill), to a public option open only to those same people in states that opt for it, or about 4 million (the original Harry Reid version of the Senate bill), to no public option but expanded Medicare (the Senate compromise) to no expanded Medicare at all (the deal with Joe “I love all the attention” Lieberman).
Without some mechanism forcing private insurers to compete, we’re going to end up with a national health care system that’s controlled by a handful of very large corporations accountable neither to American voters nor to the market.
This week’s articles.
I’m still not giving up. I want every Senator who’s not in the pocket of the private insurers or Big Pharma to introduce and vote for a “Ted Kennedy Medicare for All” amendment to whatever bill Reid takes to the floor. And if this fails, a “Ted Kennedy Real Public Option for All” amendment. Let every Senate Democratic who doesn’t have the guts to vote for either of them be known and counted.
Wrap these reforms together — a public option open to everyone (allow states to opt out of this if they dare), Medicare-negotiated drug benefits, no 12-year monopoly for new drugs, and a major squeeze on Medicare reimbursements for doctors — and have CBO score the savings. I guarantee you, the number will be large. Then you should dare anyone, Democrat or Republican, to vote against saving Americans so much money in years ahead.
So, insurance companies, we’ve got news for you. We’re going to make sure Americans have the freedom to choose a public insurance option that’s cheaper and better, and you’re going to have to work hard to keep them your customers.
The public doesn’t know what’s going on because the national media would rather report on the sexual escapades of famous people or social trends or high finance (a recent Pew study of economic reporting shows the vast majority of stories about the Great Recession have focused on Wall Street rather than Main Street).
Big Pharma and Big Insurance hate the public insurance option even more than they hate big Medicare discounts. And although the President has sounded as if he would welcome it, political operatives in the White House have quietly reassured the industries that it won’t be included in the final bill.