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Ezra Kleinís Baucus Wish List: One of These Things Is Not Like the Others

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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:12 AM
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Ezra Kleinís Baucus Wish List: One of These Things Is Not Like the Others

First, I want to compliment/thank Ezra Klein for doing a series of posts (see here, here, here and here) Wednesday summarizing and explaining the major provisions of Senator Baucus' health reform bill. The summaries were helpful and clear.

Ezra's last installment, Five Ways to Improve Max Baucus' Bill, contains some helpful suggestions, and like they say about the general effort "there is 80 percent agreement" on what he's suggesting.

So what's the 20 percent? And what is he describing by the 80 percent?

If you walk through the first four recommendations, they are generally ideas or principles liberal Democrats have been supporting from the beginning:

1. Get rid of the "free-rider" provision that creates perverse incentives that distort employers hiring decisions. Everyone agrees with Marcy that this is a bad provision. This doesn't exist in the Senate HELP or House Committee bills.

2. Increase the subsidies and impose lower caps on what consumers would have to pay in out-of-pocket costs. The HELP and House bills generally do that; they should do more.

3. Phase in Sen. Wyden's "free choice" idea, by quickly expanding eligibility for employees at larger businesses to choose insurance (and receive subsidies) from the Exchange, starting in 2015. The House bill allows this expansion to occur, starting in . . . 2015; it just needs to be more certain, rather than be left solely to the discretion of the Secretary of HHS (hello, Olympia Snowe?).

4. Create real competition with a public option, <*ahem*> allowing those eligible for the exchange to choose a government directed, not-for profit insurance option that is not driven by the incentives that have created today's perverse private insurance system. As Ezra notes, the availability of the Public Option as a choice will help induce the private insurers to comply with the reform regulations:


It's much likelier to happen, however, if they're protecting themselves against real competition in the market. And if it doesn't happen even in that scenario, then at last people will actually have somewhere to go.

Bravo, Ezra!

But his last recommendation is, uh, strange:

Continued>>>
http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/8219
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