[digg-reddit-me]David Brooks, struggling to find some coherent ideological distinctions in the messy struggle over health care:
[A]s Yuval Levin has pointed out in National Review, the Democrats believe the answer is to create a highly regulated insurance system with inefficiencies eliminated through rational rules. The Republicans believe that the answer is to create a genuine market with clear price signals, empowered consumers and an evolving process.
If only it were so clear. It’s worth pointing out again how similar the current Obama-backed bill is to the Dole-Chafee bill proposed to counter Bill Clinton in 1993 (as I have before.) Both that 1994 Republican bill and this one seek to create a genuine market with clear price signals – as, it seems, does the main Republican proposals today. The difference between the Dole-Chafee bill and Obama’s bill on the one hand, and the current Republican efforts today isn’t that one sees government bureaucracy as the answer and the other sees the market as the answer. The difference is that one holds that the government can and should provide clear rules to prevent corporations from abusing their position and their customers, and the other assumes that the market will sort it all out eventually. It’s the difference between an open but regulated market and an unregulated one. It’s the difference between as much reform as the insurance industry can abide by and insurance executives’ wet dreams of glorious profits without red tape making them actually provide something of value to their customers.
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