It appears as though Washington, D.C. legislators, at the behest of the president, both currently suffering spiralling downward “support,” may be trending toward a compromise on the the public option for health care coverage.
In deciding whether a trigger mechanism is activated in the future if health care reform has not improved adequately in terms of expanded coverage and lower premiums accessible to more of the population, consider the following. An excellent review on Why the “Trigger” is a Bad Idea, with a few pearls here.
Will a Public Plan be the Right Approach 5-10 Years From Now? Nobody knows, but most likely the answer is no. Triggering automatic imposition of the House public plan in 5 or 10 years, or whatever the time is before the trigger is pulled, means you lock in one view of the solution rather than anything learned in the meantime. Had Congress enacted a trigger to save Clintoncare, the trigger would have forced states to implement HMOs at exactly the time everyone was moving away from that overly rigid version of managed care. We don’t want to repeat that mistake.
Who is Best Able to Fix the Problems With Health Care? The states. There is a good reason we have a federal system. It works. Encouraging states to experiment helped us fix the welfare system. If the federal government wants to push states to improve coverage it can set agreed targets with individual states. The states can propose ways of achieving those goals – including removal of bureaucratic and statutory rules that block innovation. If states don’t reach goals then trigger a new agreement with the state on how to improve progress, with the federal government helping to make it happen. Don’t trigger a 10-year old off-the-peg public plan and impose it on the state.
And just in case anyone doubts the strength of passing Obamacare as it stands now without any fixing-up (America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 PDF Senate version and PDF House version), Great news: White House working on its own health-care bill now.
Image courtesy of http://climate.nasa.gov/quiz/quiz10.cfm.