Paul Krugman Optimistic About Health Care Proposal; Ezra Klein Not So Much
On Sunday, the Obama administration announced it was working with trade associations, pharmaceutical groups and other stakeholders in the health care debate on a major effort that could save more than $2 trillion over the next decade. Full details will be revealed at the White House Monday.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman notes today that one of the groups involved is a descendant of the lobbyists that helped kill health care reform with "Harry and Louise." Krugman says he's wary of the shift -- he thinks industry groups will use good will created by this move to try to kill a public health plan backed by progressives). Still, he calls today's developments "some of the best policy news I've heard in a long time."
The fact that the medical-industrial complex is trying to shape health care reform rather than block it is a tremendously good omen. It looks as if America may finally get what every other advanced country already has: a system that guarantees essential health care to all its citizens.
And serious cost control would change everything, not just for health care, but for America's fiscal future. As [Budget Director Peter] Orszag has emphasized, rising health care costs are the main reason long-run budget projections look so grim. Slow the rate at which those costs rise, and the future will look far brighter. I still won't count my health care chickens until they're hatched. But this is some of the best policy news I've heard in a long time.
As to how costs will be contained, Krugman points to Orszag. The budget director wrote this weekend on the White House website: