A thumbs up:
“Cleverly borrowing good ideas from both sides of the party divide, his proposals at least look like a plausible basis for agreement. The plan obliges everyone to take out health insurance while creating a tapering subsidy for poorer families to help them afford it. It also requires insurance companies to end various nefarious practices, such as refusing to insure people with existing conditions or cancelling their coverage just when they need it most. To pay for these long-held liberal goals (the cost is put at $900 billion over ten years), the president has committed himself to several policies that Republicans, if only they could remove their partisan spectacles, should applaud.
There is, for instance, a tax on insurance companies that offer “Cadillac” plans to richer individuals; since this will inevitably be passed on to consumers, it is a useful step towards making individuals aware of the cost of their coverage. He has made a cast-iron pledge that he will not sign a health bill that increases the deficit, and has promised automatic spending cuts if savings do not materialise. He wants to set up a new technocratic committee that could mandate changes to the hugely expensive Medicare system of health care for the elderly (an idea that cleverly takes such difficult decisions out of the hands of politicians, who have displayed a lamentable failure to grapple with them). And the president also promised conservatives reform of America’s mad tort system. The risk of being sued pushes up costs, obliging doctors to practise “defensive medicine” in the shape of needless tests and procedures.
“Obama’s big speech” Economist.com
Categories: Matthew Holt