Columns Discuss Health Reform Efforts
Summaries of three opinion pieces related to health reform appear below.
- David Leonhardt, New York Times: Recent discussion over whether to tax soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages to finance health reform "is a useful one, because it does a nice job of capturing some of the most serious problems with our current tax system," Leonhardt writes in his Times column. Leonhardt continues, "Not only has the system been failing to collect enough revenue to cover government expenses, but it is also complex in all the wrong ways." Regardless, Leonhardt concludes, "If we could cut back on our soda drinking, we should be both thinner and richer" (Leonhardt, New York Times, 5/20).
- Gerald Seib, Wall Street Journal: California's failed attempt to pass health reform legislation in 2007 and 2008 "represented a kind of trial run for the health care overhaul the president and Congress are about to attempt on the national level, offering useful lessons as well as warning signs about the potholes ahead," Seib writes in his Journal column. According to Seib, those involved in California's reform efforts say it "showed the importance of securing at least some bipartisan support, the need to reassure those who have insurance as well as those who don't, and the imperative of showing the public that health care costs can be tamed." Seib writes, "Ultimately, though, California's experience shows that success requires convincing lawmakers and citizens that any overhaul will curb costs for all" (Seib, Wall Street Journal, 5/20).
- Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post: A group of "analysts, advocates, editorial writers and politicians" who have a "fierce determination" to balance the budget could jeopardize necessary health reform, Pearlstein writes in his Post column. Pearlstein continues that because nothing of the "scale and complexity" of current efforts for health reform has been attempted before, "projecting the fiscal impact is next to impossible." Pearlstein writes, "This budgetary standoff will leave Congress with no choice but to try to finance its health reform efforts by raising taxes or limiting payments to doctors and hospitals, possibly jeopardizing the entire project." According to Pearlstein, it is "folly" for lawmakers "to put themselves in a political and procedural straitjacket." He concludes, "Health reform requires leaders with the foresight and confidence to take a leap into the unknown" (Pearlstein, Washington Post, 5/20).