Healthcare: Now for the Real Opportunity
The bill has just passed the House. The Senate will pass its part of the reconcilation, and the President will sign off on both parts of this bill.
In my mind, the passage of this bill represents two opportunities, neither of which is contained in the bill just passed.
First, the real meaning of this bill is that it is possible to defeat the insurance lobby. Ask anyone from the past who has tried, and it will be clear that this is really a demonstration of democracy, even if the bill is pretty mild. This passage opens the mind, and therefore the door, to passage of other important legislation, from Wall St. regulation to a stronger broadband network plan, without assuming that powerful lobbies always win.
Second, the real work on healthcare can now begin. Eisenhower Republicans, i.e., those representing business, will see this as an opportunity to begin cutting healthcare costs in a real way. These rising costs are the greatest threat to families (in terms of being the primary cause of personal bankruptcy) and to businesses, from GM (whose greatest liability upon filing bankruptcy was future medical exposure through its pension plans) to the corner store. American businesses, and individuals, need to bring the U.S. healthcare cost juggernaut to a halt, and then reverse it.
We suffer 200% plus pricing for our healthcare because of how this non-business model works, with too many incentives for overspending, and too few for good outcomes. We need to reverse the situation, bringing the doctor and patient back into a business relationship, and reducing defensive treatments caused by the fear of litigation. This is a real opportunity for pro-business and pro- individual interests to work together to really improve the country. Will it happen, or will the Party of No back off again, just when it has a chance to achieve its own stated goals of cost reduction?
What matters more, party politics, or cutting healthcare costs? If it is the latter, now is the perfect time. The GOP will have to throw some of the insurers under the train, but in doing so they will make ALL U.S. businesses more competitive, at home and internationally.