Accuracy in Media

Something to keep in mind for when the House and Senate reconvene…

Jonathan Cohn, senior editor of the New Republic— and an ardent advocate of universal healthcare— recently commented on Washington’s best-laid plans for health care “reform.”

“The Senate basically has a bill already written,” he said on March 25th at Susquehanna University.  “The House is already done writing a bill and they look almost exactly like each other and the two bills they’re producing look a lot like what President Obama called for in his campaign.”

Instead of fighting for a government-run single-payer system immediately, Cohn said that the current strategy of health care “reformers” is to counsel those with insurance that the health care changes won’t affect them personally.

That is, unless you count the taxes needed to pay for it.

“It all starts with politics,” Cohn said. He continued,

 “It starts with the premise, what failed in [the 1990’s]…Why do people run away from health care reform? Well, it’s the same thing [I] was talking about before. People get scared and they think ‘how’s this going to affect me?’ and they don’t think ‘it will make my life better.’”

“So the premise is let’s go to everyone who has health insurance and say ‘don’t worry, we’re not touching your coverage.’ You get to keep it the way it is if you like it and that’s the basis of the plans that you’re now going to hear about in the next few weeks.” 

The new measures might just have a publicly-paid, “mini-Medicare” plan attached. He said,

 “…and if we’re lucky, and this is going to be one of the flash points, among the options…there will be a public insurance plan, a brand new little mini Medicare plan you might call it and I can talk about details later if you want but it’s sort of a Medicare plan that really isn’t like Medicare but the point is it’s a public insurance, it’s [being] run by the government.” 

And it’s going to cost a lot of money, especially since some people will be eligible for government subsidies. 

“It will cost between a hundred and two hundred billion dollars a year to do this—the number will grow over time—and you’ve got to find a way to pay for it,” Cohn said. 

He later stated that “someone’s taxes are going to have to go up or there’s going to have to be a cut to some other program” but maintains that “in the long run we can achieve savings by having a unified plan with less waste…”

Who wants to bet that this “efficient,” unified solution is universal health care?


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