Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Color Me Perplexed

I stumbled across this Ed Morrissey post a few moments ago, and I'm a bit puzzled as to the best response. The problem is that I don't have the data to answer an important question: Is Ed being disingenuous, or is he terribly confused by the health reform principles Barack Obama has articulated?

It's hard to say. There's really no reason to think Ed Morrissey actually believes Obama is proposing a health system in which people are legally barred from purchasing care beyond what their insurers would provide. Ed's a smart guy. He follows politics. And he certainly doesn't offer any evidence for such a view. But his post takes it as a given that that is in fact what Obama is proposing.

I'm also not sure what to say about a post that argues that the problem with Obama's health-care plan is that it would force low-income Americans to "make sacrifices that wealthier, more powerful people — like the president himself — wouldn’t face." I could imagine a single-payer supporter making that argument. But someone who advocates that we "boost the private sector" in health care? The same private sector, I imagine, in which having more money buys you more things?

Honestly, it's like these people live on a different planet.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 25, 2009; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Department of Cross-Platform Corrections
Next: It's Not the Food We Can't Get. It's the Food We Can.


"...a health system in which people are legally barred from purchasing care beyond what their insurers would provide".

That sounds to me like a reprise of the infamous "No Exit" article (written by Betsy McCaughey) that Andrew Sullivan, as editor of The New Republic, used to help kill the Clinton Plan in the early 90's.

It was wrong then and it's wrong now, but that doesn't stop plenty of people from believing it.

Posted by: chloeqpc | June 25, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

...or lying about it.

Posted by: SteveCA1 | June 25, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

That whole exchange was completely ridiculous anyway. What the question was describing happens today anyway. Health insurance plans have maximum spending limits. Of course, you'll only reach the spending limit if the insurance company decides to pay for the treatment. If they don't, people who aren't wealthy skip the treatment. Some of them die.

The opponents of reform are cleverly trying to blame Obama for problems that already exist today.

Another example of this is how "Obama can't really guarantee that people will be able to keep their existing health insurance."

Hello?!?! Nobody can guarantee that today! My employer just cut benefits again because costs are going up too much. We're a small company, so if nothing changes we'll probably end up dropping it all together one day.

Posted by: SteveCA1 | June 25, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't get why these folks don't get a simple concept. The system being proposed aims to make sure that every American has coverage for adequate care. You can argue about how good "adequate" should be. But anyone would be free to get anything beyond what their insurance covers if they are willing to pay out of pocket. How is that worse that the current system, where millions don't have any coverage at all and routinely go bankrupt due to medical bills. Actually even people WITH coverage, but inadequate coverage, go bankrupt. So a system in which you don't have to go bankrupt to get care that society decides is good enough is an improvement. Of course if you then choose to spend more on "fancier" care, and even go bankrupt in that pursuit, that is what freedom is all about. I thought Republicans liked freedom.

Posted by: mufti2 | June 25, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

You lost me at "Ed's a smart guy." Still waiting for evidence of that proposition.

Posted by: klhoughton | June 25, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Morrissey's point is pretty clear to me. The President's plan will inevitably result in a substantial number of Americans moving to a public plan. Let's call it "Single Payer for Some"...which is a term I've heard used by proponents of the public plan.

By the President's own admission - in fact it's a central plank of reform - costs will have to be substantially controlled in the new public plan (as well as Medicare/Medicaid). As a result, individuals in the public plan may not have access to, or the resources to otherwise obtain, the most advanced care possible. This could very well end up becoming the rule, rather than the exception.

This is what ABC was referring to when they asked the President if he would commit that his own family would live within the limitations inherent in the government plan. And the President's answer (uh, no) is the hypocrisy that Morrissey is highlighting.

Not sure what is so confusing...

Posted by: morgen-vs | June 25, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse


As I said, what you're describing already exists today. Many people can't afford insurance at all. Many people who HAVE insurance can't afford to pay for treatment that has been denied.

Posted by: SteveCA1 | June 25, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

When I heard Obama trying to answer that question on ABC last night - I immediately started thinking about my HMO days - when my health care was perhaps a little more affordable for me but I was limited only to the docs in my network.

What I found was that the docs at top hospitals did not do HMOs. Nor do the top hospitals.

In fact, many docs I wanted to see refused to sign up for HMOs because the cost differential between HMO and PPO rates was just too great - why spend time on an HMO patient that brings in less $$ when you can spend all your time on PPO patients who get reimbursed at a higher rate?

So I have my doubts that a single payer system "for some" will be attractive to all docs. The very busiest - the most experienced docs will most likely stick with the private insurers - they'll get more money.

Certainly very good docs will likely sign up for the public plan (if one ever is developed) but also you'll get not-so-good docs who sign up because they'll do whatever it takes to get any patients in the door.

Thus, people without the bank account of a Kennedy will find a door slammed against them, just as they do today.

Posted by: anne3 | June 25, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

steveca1, while that may be true for people who currently do not have insurance, and have only limited resources; you can't say the same for people who now have employer-provided insurance but end up on the public plan when their employer dumps their benefit costs onto the government. (regardless of whether the employer has to pay a fee/penalty for doing so)

It's also not yet clear to me what the impact of the Democrat's plan will be on the current market for private, individual insurance policies. I happen to have an individual, HSA-compatible plan which I know liberals would love to do away with.

Posted by: morgen-vs | June 25, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Although I didn't think Obama answered that question very effectively, I read the question to mean "Would you seek care that might be experimental or not covered for other evidence-based reasons?" And Obama has made it pretty clear that he wants these plans to offer "science-based" treatments that are proven to work. (Wherever the science exists to actually prove that!) Obama should have said, "We would follow the same rules as everyone else, but everyone also has the right to appeal care decisions with which they disagree".

Posted by: LindaB1 | June 25, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"end up on the public plan when their employer dumps their benefit costs onto the government."

Look, people are not going to be 'dumped' in the public plan. No proposal has that. If an employer does dump their plan, workers would choose a plan from the exchange. The public plan is just one option of many.

Posted by: gonzosnose | June 26, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, see Ed's response. By way of a 2008 NetRoots video, he has you dead to rights. I'd be interested in how you respond (perhaps in the Hot Air comments).

mufti2 doesn't understand. "But anyone would be free to get anything beyond what their insurance covers if they are willing to pay out of pocket." That's not the plan, as Obama obliquely admitted during his infomercial. Don't rely on The One for all your information - you have a brain; use it, and read points of view that challenge your beliefs.

Posted by: PaulinNJ | June 26, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company