Health reform: Pluses, minuses

Opinionline: What people are saying about health debate

The New York Times, in an editorial: “The health care reform bill that Senate Democratic leaders have cobbled together to win support from all 60 members, … has drawn scornful attacks from a united Republican opposition. … The bill … has some imperfections but is worthy of support from lawmakers. … There is a lot to like in the bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that it would cover more than 30 million of the uninsured and would, by 2019, result in 94% of all citizens and legal residents below Medicare age having health insurance. … The United States Senate has a chance this week to get past the bickering … that (has) robbed it of Americans’ trust and pass a historic piece of legislation,”

Sally Pipes, author, on RealClearPolitics: “The president and his political allies appear to be well on their way to implementing a government remake of the U.S. health care system. The situation for ordinary patients isn’t so rosy, as they may soon find themselves stuck waiting to get the care they need from insurance plans they still can’t afford. … Countries like Canada only spend less on health care by consigning their citizens to waiting hsts and depriving them of access to effective cutting-edge treatments. … If the Democrats are successful, … as with our neighbors to the north, be prepared to wait.”

San Franciso Chronicle, in an editorial: “Regrettably, the deals that (Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid had to cut may leave Californians clutching a lump of coal. California was already receiving the lowest federal match for Medicaid dollars in the nation – a 50-50 split – a large part of the reason our state’s provider reimbursement rates are also among the lowest. … Under the new health care reform package, states with recalcitrant senators will receive especially large subsidies to expand their Medicaid programs, or, in the case of Nebraska, … Uncle Sam will pick up the entire tab. In sum, California will be subsidizing health care reform in other states, and we won’t even be able to pay our own bills. If there was ever a moment for California’s congressional delegation to … insist on equity … this is it.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in an editorial: “Christmas and health care reform have this in common: Not everybody receives the presents they want. … It is easy to tick off what is missing in this bill – no public option, no buy-in for Medicare and no green light for buying cheaper drugs from … other countries. … (But the bill) contains much that is good. It drives a stake through … insurance practices such as denials based on pre-existing conditions. … Families are protected at last from the costs associated with health care emergencies. … And, of course, the scandal of American health care – the millions of people uninsured – is largely addressed.”

William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, on The Blog: “I’m not so sure the legislation can’t still be derailed. Two reasons: First: the reaction to the deal-making. One friend e-mails, ‘Uncharacteristically, I’m getting calls from relatives who want to talk about all the unseemly deals being cut to get the health bill through … that seems to have hit a nerve, as much as the price-tag’ … Second: … Why did the authors of the legislation want to specially protect the Independent Medicare Advisory Board by making it difficult for future Congresses to legislate in that area? … As people learn more about the sleazy sweetheart deals and the creepy permanent death panels this thing could still go down in the House next month in the face of popular outrage.”

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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