16 August 2009

Obama's Retreat

Republicans, Independents, NPAs, and Democrats who opposed the liberal "public option" program in the President's healthcare reform agenda, rejoice. Because of the pressure American citizens have been putting on the administration in the form of protests at town halls and letter-writing/phone-calling campaigns, the Obama administration is backing off their plans to socialize healthcare through a government-run insurance agency. Instead, the President Obama is now trying to call for "cooperative" insurance plans, which I have yet to read more about and understand, but as it was explained in an MSNBC article about this subject, they would be consumer-owned non-profit corporations operating independently of the government, yet still function under a nationwide organization and provide more market competition to privately-owned insurers. I think it will be interesting to go to more town hall meetings and hear from our leaders in Congress about their take on a co-op plan. I know I will be looking forward to hearing about it from my Congressman Jeff Flake during his next town hall or tele-town hall. On the one hand, I doubt it will accomplish the far left's goal of insuring everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions or terminal medical treatments, so that could deter support from that side of the aisle. It also ignores one problem of the system currently, in that insurance cannot be bought across state lines. Under the co-op plan, even though the corporation is national, each state would have its own affiliates. Wouldn't it just be easier to open state borders to allow the purchase of private insurance? On the other hand, more competition in the market is a good thing, and a non-profit corporation is more likely to be able to help low-income insurance needs (which is one reason for the reforms in the first place, the other being economic stability over the long-term). I would still be very wary of having too much government intervention in setting up this co-op company with too many regulations or a political agenda. That's not going to do anyone any good. I think if they really want reform, the Pelosi Democrats are going to have to sit down with the rest of Congress and come up with real solutions, not the political manifestations of half-assed efforts.

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