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Yes, Why Can't We Get the Health-Care Congress Enjoys?

Opening up Federal Employees' health program sounds great. But it's a point where good health politics meets bad health policy.
 
 
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I'm not going to write a big wonky post about the Senate health-care compromise today. I just want to highlight a small point: the idea of having the Office of Personnel Management -- the federal government's HR department -- administer the program is really smart politics, but a pretty bizarre policy when you stop to think about it.

The Dems' health care plans are roughly modeled on the benefits program federal employees, including members of Congress, enjoy. There's a government-run exchange. Private insurers sell policies within that exchange, and they have to conform to certain rules and offer a set of minimum benefits. After that, they compete -- federal employees choose from a variety of plans. If the "public option" existed, it would just be one among several different insurance plans in the exchanges.

During this summer of brain-dead right-populism over health-care, folks at Town Halls would berate their representatives for not signing themselves up for the program they were creating.

 
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