A friend from Singapore sent me this link from the Asia Times. I wish I disagreed with more than a couple of the author's assertions concerning the health insurance debate we're having in this country. I advised my friend to tell his fellow Singaporeans that there are huge downsides to hegemony, most notably the accompanying hubris, which sent young soldiers to die in Vietnam & Iraq and today stands in the way of our adopting a wise national health insurance plan.
No politician, not even a Democrat, is willing to pitch universal coverage based on a foreign plan, even though Britain and Canada and France and Germany all deliver similar health care outcomes at a substantially better price. Health care costs in Britain come in at under $3,000 per year per capita, while we pay over $7200 per year per capita. That's insanely cheap. What might the average family of four do with an extra $16K per year? (The other three nations come in at roughly 65% of our per capita costs.)
What's wrong with us that we won't even consider stealing other countries' ideas and applying them here? I blame hegemony. We've conditioned ourselves to think that our military might means we're the best at everything. To believe otherwise implies weakness, it seems.
And that brings us to this notion of health insurance co-ops instead of a public option. Ezra Klein reports:
In early June, Max Baucus asked Kent Conrad to solve this argument. Conrad came up with the co-op proposal. And I literally mean "came up" with it. Conrad told me that the idea emerged "out of conversations in my office after we were asked to see if we couldn't come up with some way of bridging this chasm."
Instead of figuring out which tried & true foreign system could best fit the United States, these senators from two very small states decided to reinvent the wheel. This is not a solution based on objectivity or empirical research or anything bankable.
Sen. Conrad states that the votes aren't there for a public option. But the co-op plan is favored by only himself. The Republicans have no interest in it and minority party leadership will not compromise:
"I am negotiating for Republicans," (Sen. Grassley) said. "If I can't negotiate something that gets more than four Republicans, I'm not a good negotiator."When NBC's Chuck Todd, in a follow-up question on the show, asked the Iowa Republican if he'd vote against what Grassley might consider to be a "good deal" -- i.e., gets everything he asks for from Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D) -- Grassley replied, "It isn't a good deal if I can't sell my product to more Republicans."
Sen. Grassley, in other words, would vote against a bill that he believes would be in the best interests of the United States or even just in the interests of his home state of Iowa simply because his fellow Republican senators are against the bill. These people are terrorists and there's no point negotiating with them.
Nate Silver believes the public option has about 43 votes in the Senate right now with another five very likely. Out of those other twelve Democrats, it's likely that we could get another couple votes at crunchtime. No other reform option has that many votes. The status quo doesn't even have that many votes. The Democrats in the Senate need to take the reigns back from Sen. Conrad and give them to someone else.