Back to square one?
Is it all starting over now? House Speaker Pelosi this week called for a vote on a bill that would revoke the insurance industry's exemption from antitrust laws. Most Americans would agree that health insurers should play by the same rules as everyone else in business. In and of itself, it's as good a place to start again as any.
But it can't end there. If Congress chooses to tackle reform issue by issue, a declaration of victory will fall flat with Americans unless there's a measure that prevents discrimination for pre-existing conditions, one that prohibits annual and lifetime limits and a mechanism to control the increasingly hard to afford costs of coverage.
The danger of taking it piece by piece is that without the cost control mechanism, the pre-existing conditions ban will inevitably drive costs up for everyone. The two have to go hand in hand.
While a small bill approach may be politically palatable, the best policy outcome for people affected by cancer would be passing a comprehensive health care reform bill.
February 5, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Health Care Reform
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