Many would say: Whoopee! Get rid of the sinister insurers. Bring on a single-payer system. But if that's the agenda, why not debate it directly? It's not insurers that cause high health costs; they're simply the middlemen. It's the fragmented delivery system and open-ended reimbursement. Would strict regulation of doctors, hospitals and patients under a single-payer system provide control? Or would genuine competition among health plans over price and quality work better?
That's the debate we need, but in truth, doctors, hospitals and patients don't want to be limited, whether by government or markets. Congress reflects public opinion. Fearing a real debate, we fake it.
Hiatt leaves the public with a serious question:
So all the attention on whether Obama will get a public plan, as he says he hopes, misses the bigger point. The question is whether he will allow Congress to use the public option as an excuse to dodge the harder reforms, or whether he will insist on true cost control.
Both are must read pieces.
Remember, all the claims about health insurance companies making "obscene" profits, was fact checked by the AP and found to be lies.