This Week in the Mercury


Friday, June 5, 2009

Healthcare Reform Plans Explained

Posted by Matt Davis on Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 8:37 AM

Blue Oregon blogger T.A.Barnhart came along to the Mercury and Bus Project's Brewhaha on Wednesday night and has posted a neat rundown of the five options for healthcare reform on the site. The more I find out about healthcare reform here in Oregon and nationally, the more I realize that the complexity is what's putting a great deal of people off getting engaged in the discussion. So Todd's concise summaries help.

I think the part I'd draw particular attention to is that Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is pushing a health care reform plan that doesn't include a public insurance option (to compete with private insurers and keep them honest). Wyden has been a hero for healthcare reform his entire career, but now, it seems, he's placing "bipartisanship" over the good of actual patients by coming up with a reform plan that even Republicans can vote for.

What's more, President Obama's plan includes a public insurance option. So: Wyden is actually proposing a more conservative plan than the president. Where's the sense in that? I'm looking forward to this afternoon's town hall between Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Governor Howard Dean. They both support the public insurance option, but the question is, will they dare to go up against Wyden, critiquing his plan, given all the money he brings in for the Democratic party?

My prediction is that Howard Dean might have the clout and balls to call Wyden out in public. I don't think Blumenauer does. But we'll see.

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