Another day, another post on the best points on Ezra Klein’s blog.
And apologies for the lack of a post yesterday, as I was caught up in Christmas shopping for the entire day. With my sister. As we visited every women’s clothing store in Manhattan. It was exhilarating. (Just like going to the dentist.) (If you’re reading, I’m kidding, sister!)
But on to more interesting matters. Klein asked George Halvorson, chairman and chief executive of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, what he would put into the health care bill if he could:
The exchanges as designed in the current bill deal with health plan choices only. That is a wasted opportunity. The future health plan marketplace for America should be about dueling care teams, not dueling actuaries. Let’s not miss this chance to transform care by building the exchange model with components that help consumers make smart choices. Insurance competition is good. Care team competition is better. Exchanges should have low barriers to entry for accountable health systems and high standards for important data about care outcomes and successes. It’s not too late to go down that path. The entire bill can point us in a direction that facilitates care delivery reform as well as insurance reform. We need both.
Klein also tackles the talking point that Glenn Greenwald and others on the left who oppose the bill have been repeating in an almost Republican-sounding chorus – that because the stocks of health insurance companies went up in the aftermath of the deal to pass the bill, that it represents a complete sellout to the industry:
Look at the graph atop this post. This bill is not, in the market’s estimation, a gamechanger for the insurance industry. All of these stocks have seen both larger rises and larger falls in the past. None of them have recovered to their pre-crash highs. The market is not viewing the insurance industry in a dramatically different light than was true a year ago.
This is, at best, back-of-the-envelope work. But so too is divining the true worth of the health-care reform bill by tracking the daily fluctuations in the stock prices of insurers.
Klein also links to Alex Pareen’s essential Gawker piece headlined, “News of First Major Progressive Legislation in 30 Years Enrages Liberals.”
Earlier today, Klein continued to take on the role of referee of the health care debate, declaring that Obama’s statement that he did not campaign on the public option was false:
[I]t’s a good example of why the left is losing its trust in Obama. Obama could have given an interview where he expressed frustration that the math of the Senate forced his administration to give up the public option but nevertheless argued that the rest of the health-care bill was well worth passing. Instead, he’s arguing that he never cared about the public option anyway, which is just confirming liberal suspicions that they lost that battle because the president was never really on their side.
Edit: Link fixed.