Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Digging In

Bob Herbert is not happy with the prospects for healthcare “reform.”

Giving consumers the choice of an efficient, nonprofit, government-run insurance plan would have moved us toward real cost control, but that option has gone a-glimmering. The public deserves better. The drug companies, the insurance industry and the rest of the corporate high-rollers have their tentacles all over this so-called reform effort, squeezing it for all it’s worth.

Meanwhile, the public — struggling with the worst economic downturn since the 1930s — is looking on with great anxiety and confusion. If the drug companies and the insurance industry are smiling, it can only mean that the public interest is being left behind.

I don’t think the public option is dead, and I think the pronouncements of the disintegration of the reform plans are also premature. We have been on this teeter-totter of hope and despair for both sides, but since there is not actually a single piece of legislation on the table — my latest count was four different versions — what we’re seeing is that both sides are taking their positions and digging in. Trust me; what we think we see as the healthcare reform will look nothing like what they’re talking about now.