I find it difficult to believe that the Democrats (with the possible exception of the Blue Dogs) have any interest in reforming the health care insurance business so that private insurance works better.
It would be relatively easy to pass a bipartisan bill that actually made a bona fide attempt to do this. No, it wouldn’t get all the Republican votes, and it might lose some of the most stubbornly ultra-liberal Democrats who want to make a pro-public-option protest. But if Obama (and Pelosi and Reid) were to push a bill that focused on the private sector and actually tried to improve it, I have little doubt that most Democrats and Republicans would work together and it would be passed.
But if—after all the problems they’ve had with the public option so far—the Democratic leadership in Congress has not abandoned it and embraced reform of the private system, and if Obama has not offered leadership in that direction, it is because they are uninterested in doing so. After all, if they were to actually improve the system of private health care insurance, make it more affordable and transportable, and even extend coverage to the poverty-stricken citizens who need it and can’t afford it, America might find it works fairly well.
What would be wrong with that? Nothing, in my book. Quite a lot, in the Pelosi/Reid/Obama one. It would annoy their Left wing (the one they belong to). And it would vindicate the idea of private sector (albeit government-guided) solutions over public ones.
That would mean abandoning the real dream, which is not to make private health insurance more affordable and reasonable (crossing state lines, for example, and catastrophic insurance being available), but to create a government-run system with greater and greater government control over our lives, as well as one that spreads the wealth.
[NOTE: Michael C. Burgess, MD, member of the House from Texas, has this to say about the process by which the present bill came to be:
Furthermore, the process leading up to today in the House of Representatives has been the most secretive and opaque since I was elected to Congress in 2002. House Republicans, including the thirteen of us who are medical professionals, were denied the opportunity to participate in the legislative process from the beginning, despite our continued efforts to provide real ideas for meaningful reform based on our years of experience. Democrats have completely ignored the millions of Americans who voiced their strong opposition to a government takeover of America’s health care system by pushing ahead with a ‘public option’ and a drastic expansion of Medicaid.
“I will continue my efforts to help enact pro-patient reforms to America’s health care system that will increase choice and access to health insurance and health care, lower costs, encourage patient involvement, and ensure that the world’s best health care system remains intact. House Republicans, including myself, have introduced no fewer than 100 bills that would accomplish these goals, fixing what is broken in our health care system without allowing the federal government to completely take over. I look forward to reading all 1,990 pages of this bill over the next few days and doing the work North Texans sent me to Washington to do. I will continue to fight on behalf of responsible health care solutions Americans support.”