If you’re a driver, then it’s likely that the only time you pay attention to speed limit signs is when you spot a cop car parked on the side of the road or when (even more inconveniently) the cop is on the road doing the speed limit and no one dares go faster, meaning you have to go that slow until the cop gets on an exit ramp and out of the way. Then, as if all the drivers were a bunch of lemmings, everyone picks up the speed they were going before or maybe even faster to make up for lost time.
Speed limit signs, in other words, are pretty ineffective at controlling drivers and are treated by most of them as mere suggestions.
This insight, I believe, is what is behind the administration’s and other Democrats’ insistence that any health care reform needs to include the so-called “public option” as a way of making sure health insurers obey the speed limit, as it were.
The health insurance industry’s reaction has been unenthusiastic, needless to say.
Here’s what a spokesman for AHIP said in response to the one Democratic package unveiled recently: “A government-run plan would dismantle employer-based coverage, add additional liabilities to the federal budget, and turn back the clock on efforts to improve the quality and safety of patient care. A better approach is to pursue reforms that can achieve broad bipartisan support, including strengthening the health care safety net, overhauling existing market rules, promoting shared responsibility, and transforming the delivery system to reward quality and value.”
Now, who could possibly disagree with those noble goals? But the devil, as they say, is in the details or, in this case, how to get from the present unsatisfactory point A to a point B where the health care system works for everyone.
The reality of the situation is that you’re not going to do it without the cop.
Any idea that’s put forth that would dramatically change the status quo is jumped on by Republicans as leading to a government-run health system.
Public option? Socialism!