Friday, January 15, 2010
Much of our attention is rightly focused on the disaster in Haiti at the moment, but lest we forget, there IS still a health care reform effort working its way through Congress and there IS still a chance to modify it.
So, here are a few ideas for modifying the HCR bill such that a) it still has a chance of passing, b) it actually does something useful and c) it does MORE useful things than the existing bill.
Looking for comments, questions, and additions.
First, keep most of what's in there, modulo the following things:
- Add tort reform. Seriously, why the hell not? Why do the Democrats refuse to budge on this? What the hell do we care? Reform away! If there exists a system for ensuring that people always have care, do we really need to be extracting millions upon millions of dollars in punitive damages from doctors who tried their best? Do we really believe that most doctors DON'T try their best? I feel like this is a small concession to make on the Democratic side and a massive sop to throw to the Republicans who are mostly concerned with making sure med mal insurance companies that donate to their campaigns stay rich. Fine. Screw it.
- Allow interstate insurance competition, WITH THE FOLLOWING CAVEAT: any insurance company wishing to do business in a state must follow the regulations of that state. This will prevent the race-to-the-bottom in standards the Republicans are so eager for that would result from unrestricted interstate competition -- that is, if they got their way, all insurance companies would immediately move to California, which has the worst medical insurance regulations in the country. There is, however, no reason not to allow interstate competition with that modification to it.
- Listen to Dennis Kucinich and modify ERISA such that it permits states to enact their own single-payer health care systems, and furthermore pool their risk and funding together should they so choose.