Health reform raises deep questions about the size and scope of government, about progressive taxation, about the individual mandate and more. It’s easy to forget that cost control will be a huge challenge, no matter how these ideological matters are resolved. Finding the right combination of humanity and restraint will be particularly hard in addressing life-threatening or life-ending illness.
The recent policy debate surrounding the health care safety net seems predicated on the philosophy that we must sharply shrink government despite the accompanying human costs. That vision is most congenial to those who feel comfortable and safe without public help.
We can’t evaluate the backstage politics, but one thing is certain. Both Democrats and Republicans should be dismayed at the sight of a partisan campaign driving yet another distinguished figure out of American government.
In regard to the health law’s CLASS program, too little political space exists to advance midcourse corrections or enact programmatic improvements — that’s a price Democrats paid by achieving their dream of near-universal coverage on a party-line vote; and by Republicans, because of their implacable opposition to just about everything Democrats proposed.
An ironic partisan tinge has become evident in recent criticisms leveled at the health overhaul’s high-risk insurance pools.
Democrats and Republicans may spend the next two years fighting about what to jettison or retain in the new health law. If these battles are resolved, we’ll be back to address another looming challenge: long-term care. It’s best that this happen sooner rather than later.
Withdrawing from Medicaid would be political suicide. Despite post-election bluster, no governor or legislature will seriously attempt such a maneuver because of the related administrative, economic and organizational difficulties.
The real problem facing our emergency care system is not overuse, it’s the lack of a financial and administrative infrastructure to properly support it.
Have you ever been to the supermarket and spotted a balding man with Down syndrome pushing a shopping cart for his elderly mother? Have you ever wondered how he pays his medical bills or his rent? In truth, no single
President Obama should greet a letter from Congressional Republicans about insufficient funding for the new high-risk pools as an opening bid in constructing a bipartisan bill to fix any deficiencies.
The differing interests and preferences of seniors and near-seniors reflect the perils of incremental reform in reaching universal coverage.
Partisan health reform fights have focused on a handful of concerns: the proposed public health insurance plan, individual and employer mandates, financing measures to subsidize low-income Americans and to cover the uninsured. As a combatant in some of these fights, I’m not one to say the partisan conflict is misplaced.