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Health Care Ramifications


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So, I just figure that since the outcome of the current debate over health care reform seems pretty close to resolved right now, it might be worth considering the implications of it on future elections. (Theoretically this impact would be felt very strongly for the 2010 midterms, but that's Congress Forever, so I'll focus mainly on 2012.)

Specifically, this is not, obviously, the end of the issue. Obviously, health care and specifically the Obama HCR bill was going to be a big issue in 2012, but I think the positions are slightly changed from how they might have seemed a few months ago. If I were writing issue positions, I might do something like this:

Far-Left: Reject a private insurance system! National single-payer system!

Left: Health care reform didn't go far enough. Add a robust public option.

Center-Left: Health care reform was good. Add a modest public option.

Center: Health care reform was okay. Keep the system as is for now.

Center-Right: Repeal parts of Obamacare like individual mandate. Add tort reform.

Right: Repeal Obamacare in its entirety! Replace with tort reform, inter-state health insurance.

Far-Right: Repeal Obamacare! Total deregulation of private insurance system!

I might also call the issue "Health Care Reform", rather than "Health Care", since it doesn't exactly line up with the traditional axis of public-private that I've seen in things like the default 2004/2008 scenarios.

As for the other big Obama initiatives, financial reform, cap-&-trade, and education, I think we don't really know yet how those will end up, so it's a little premature to try to do the same kind of thing with them.

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So it does. Wow. And no one noticed? How is that? (We're probably off-topic here, aren't we?)

From what I can gather from the bill, it seems the public option is set up solely through the exchanges in the health care bill. So it isn't quite the same as the public option everyone talks about.

I have noticed a few websites which pointed this out, but you're right, it's gone mostly under the radar, maybe because of that difference.

Since the topic is health care ramifications, I don't think it's a huge digression to talk about what's in the reconciliation bill.

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From what I remember, that was exactly what the "public option everyone talks about" meant. I'm stunned that no one's been complaining about it if it's true, though. I can't quite believe it.

My best estimation based on reading the bill and the lack of public reaction is that this isn't a public option in any meaningful sense of the word.

Otherwise, why would Democrats in Congress promise to bring back the public option months down the road if it's already in the bill?

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Yeah, the insurance exchanges in this bill are much closer to other explicitly non-public option bills (like Max Baucus' finance committee bill and the Wyden-Bennett bill) than the HELP committee bill, so as we know the term, it doesn't count as a real public option. That's why nobody is really complaining about it, because even a few Republicans have expressed positive views about insurance exchanges such as Bob Bennett.

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