by Max Brantley
The public gets it. Republicans are lying about the health care bill. So, Gene Lyons asks, why won't some Democrats do the right thing and get behind a public option?
There have always been two basic arguments for health insurance reform: one based in morality, the other self-interest. For a documented 45,000 persons to die prematurely in America each year because they can't afford proper care is a national disgrace. Almost everybody apart from "conservatives" whose moral imagination is limited to judging other people's sex lives understands that.
The current cruel, wasteful system is indefensible. Surely that's why almost three-quarters of physicians polled by the New England Journal of Medicine favor genuine reform. About 63 percent of doctors surveyed nationwide support a public option; 10 percent would prefer a single-payer system, basically Medicare for everybody.
The Baucus plan isn't an acceptable alternative, he says.
Because the widely publicized bill proposed by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., not only won't get Republican votes, it would also do little to restrain galloping cost increases. That's why insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists love it.
Instead, Baucus' bill would force millions of working Americans currently without coverage to spend up to 13 percent of their annual income on private health insurance policies they can't afford.
Have these abstemious "centrists" on the Senate Finance Committee been hitting the medical marijuana stash? A surer way to stoke a right-wing populist rebellion can't be imagined.