I have mixed feelings about this.... It's not what most Progressives wanted to see, yet I expected something like this would happen. In order to garner enough support in the Senate, I knew the legislation would have to be watered down even more than it already had been.
The new approach would basically leave private insurance companies (yes the ones that have been gouging and defrauding the American people for all these years) in charge of healthcare at all levels. The Fox has been put in charge of guarding the Hen House. And tonight, the Fox (the insurance industry) is laughing its ass off all the way to the bank. Why? Because this is a giant corporate giveaway.... like none other. Millions of Americans will be pushed onto private insurance rolls, strengthening the bottom line for the insurance industry.
Harry Reid (one of the worst Senate Majority leaders in modern history) wants to give us the illusion that what is left is still very much a "public option".
Essentially, this plan will allow the insurance industry to collude... to artificially set prices higher, etc, so that the industry could continue to make the same killing (pun intended) profiting from cutting corners on Healthcare that it does today. It will be very difficult to get any real competition under this plan. I am not arguing that it can't be done....apparently the new system will rely on a not-for-profit program...so it's possible. But I am pointing out that it will be difficult. The likelihood of success has gone down significantly in my opinion. Because the private insurance industry is going to naturally act in its own monetary interests....not in the interest of public health. I
This plan basically replaces the Public Option with a co-op. I believed that a combination public option/co-op could have been a workable compromise... but this is a much bigger scale down... a capitulation in a sense.
Perhaps the most interesting twist in all of this is the fact that Senators want OPM to run the new program. For those not familiar with OPM.... this is an organization that can't even handle its core mission very well, let alone a new complex program. Essentially OPM isn't all that good at running OPM. This agency has been underfunded and understaffed for years. That was the second red flag for me (the first came with word that the public option as it was structured before was dropped from consideration, and Harry Reid was refusing to make a statement).
Despite all of this, I hope the new plan will work as intended. This is probably the best that Obama and the Democrats could have accomplished under the circumstances. And perhaps it will could be something to build on later. If you think about this in the context of incrementalism... this is a pretty impressive accomplishment.
So despite my grumblings, I have to give the legislation a thumbs up.
Still learning more about everything that is in the new plan.
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