President Obama released his proposed health care reform proposal on Monday, despite Republican demands to scrap the whole thing and start over with Thursday’s “bi-partisan” health care reform summit.
The White House frames its plan as an opening bid for the summit and sticks fairly closely to the Senate bill, but eliminating the sweetheart deals with individual states and easing the tax burden on high-end (cadillac) health plans.
Key provisions include:
There is nothing particularly surprising here. Certainly, targeting insurers with a Health Insurance Rate Authority is warranted, given the recent uproar over a 39 percent rate increase on individual plans in California and some other states.
Absent from the President’s proposal was the public option that he has supported in the past, while the individual mandate remains. He has challenged Republicans to bring their own ideas to the table for Thursday’s “bi-partisan” summit.
As for this “bi-partisan” summit, I’ll believe it when I see it. Every conciliatory measure taken in an effort to win Republican support has been met with failure, from single-payer to public option to reining in insurers. Within minutes of the White House plan being posted online, the familiar battle cry of “massive government takeover” began. It’s all too predictable.
The summit may well prove to be just another round of partisan showmanship in a winner-take-all bout. Then again, there’s always reconciliation.
The sad truth is that whatever health care reform might come to pass in the near future will fall woefully short. We will still have Americans going bankrupt or dying for lack of access to health care, and we will be forced to fight this fight all over again. Unless, of course, Washington can break the gridlock and put the country ahead of politics.
You can read the President’s 11-page proposal in its entirety at: whitehouse.gov/health-care-meeting/proposal
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