First, what he said then…
The Obama-Biden plan provides new affordable health insurance options by: (1) guaranteeing eligibility for all health insurance plans; (2) creating a National Health Insurance Exchange to help Americans and businesses purchase private health insurance; (3) providing new tax credits to families who can’t afford health insurance and to small businesses with a new Small Business Health Tax Credit; (4) requiring all large employers to contribute towards health coverage for their employees or towards the cost of the public plan; (5) requiring all children have health care coverage; (5) expanding eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs; and (6) allowing flexibility for state health reform plans.
So how does that compare to the current HRC bill on the table?
We don’t know what the employer mandate will look like once the House and the Senate merge their bills, and the exchanges look likelier to be run by states or regions than by the government (though there will also be a national exchange overseen by the Office of Personnel Management), but those are really the only differences. And it’s not even clear they’re differences.
Nor were there aggressive cost controls outlined in Obama’s white paper but abandoned amid the legislative process. The Senate bill is quite a bit stronger on controlling costs than the campaign paper, which makes no mention of prudential purchasing or the excise tax on high-cost health insurance or the Medicare Commission or specific delivery-system reforms. The paper promises investments in comparative effectiveness research and health information technology, and the Obama administration delivered on both in the stimulus.
Also, Rick Ungar rounds up the major changes to the new bill. Too much to post here, but there are a lot of similarities.
That’s why I have no idea why so many progressives are crying foul. But this is what we often hear from Obama’s detractors on the left. They don’t actually pay attention to what he said during the campaign. So this notion of “selling out” is usually misinformed and juvenile in its intellectually simplicity.
Folks, this legislation is a BIG step in the right direction and just because the Daily Kos crowd didn’t get a public option doesn’t mean this isn’t going to help people. Also, did progressives ignore the part where the moderate Dem Senators said they wouldn’t vote for a public option under any circumstances? But I suppose this is why Dems are so often snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Do you like Social Security? Did you know that, as initially passed, millions of people were left out of the program, particularly African-American citizens? As time has progressed we’ve fixed it, constantly improving the entitlement to treat everyone more fairly. Do you like Medicare? Did you know that, as initially passed, the coverage did not extend nearly as far nor as deep as it does today?
And to that broader point…these reforms will actually help a lot of people…
It’s not perfect. No legislation is. So to my Democratic friends I say this…manage your expectations appropriately and stop whining.