Commentary Magazine


Any Deal

The apparent deal by 10 senators to drop the public option is a bit baffling. We’re going to get rid of the “public” option but give the option of buying into government-run Medicare to millions? This is going to lower costs and prevent the crowding out of private insurers? Hard to see how. What’s more, we’re going to dump millions more into a program from which we’re contemplating slashing hundreds of billions of dollars.

If nothing else, this has at least woken up the AMA:

The American Medical Association said it opposes expanding Medicare because doctors face steep pay cuts under the program and many Medicare patients are struggling to find a doctor. Hospitals also said expanding Medicare and Medicaid is a bad idea. “We want coverage — in the worst way — expanded, but both of these means are problematic for hospitals and physicians,” said Chip Kahn, president of the Federation of American Hospitals, which lobbies on behalf of for-profit hospitals. “It’s going to make it difficult to make it work.”

The deal has yet to be scored by the CBO, and the details have yet to be explained. But what seems to be going on here is a desperate struggle for a deal, any deal. Doesn’t matter if it makes sense or is paid for or accomplishes the purported goals of its supporters. It’s all about saving face for the Democratic leadership. The question remains whether lawmakers will actually scrutinize the monstrous bill or instead just vote for any old thing their leaders put in front of them.