Friday, October 09, 2009

Ezra Klein and David Brooks on the Baucus bill and healthcare reform

The latest from David Brooks who sees both strengths and weakenesses in the Baucus bill:

... The Baucus bill includes many provisions to make government-run health care more rational. It would bundle payments to hospitals and encourage doctors to work in efficient teams. It would punish hospitals that have to readmit patients. It would create a commission to perpetually squeeze costs. It would improve information technology. It would measure the comparative effectiveness of different treatments. No one knows how much savings would be produced by these changes in payment method, but they could be significant.

If you asked me to compare the Baucus approach with the Wyden approach, the answer is easy. But if you asked me to compare it with the status quo, the answer is hard. The Baucus bill contains hidden bombs that could lead to a rigid bureaucratic system that still doesn’t address the fundamental problems. On the other hand, it contains hidden experiments that could lead to new models that might spread across the system.

If I were in Congress, I’d figure there’s an 80 percent chance of something like this passing anyway. I might as well get engaged as a provisional supporter to fight to make it better, or at least to fight off the coming onslaught to make it worse.

And Ezra Klein has interesting posts on how conservatives might have improved the bill and the next steps in the legislative process.

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