Sunday, July 26, 2009

Future Health Care Reforms

When considering various possibilities for this year's health care reform package, I often wonder what future legislative possibilities they might unleash if they passed. For example, say we get the public option, and things play out as expected with public plan rates being cheaper than private plan rates. But suppose access to the public plan is restricted in the beginning, as it is in the House bill, and you can't get in unless you're an individual or a small business. Or imagine a more disappointing bill that perpetually bars big businesses from getting in on the public plan.

What I'd have to imagine would happen next is that big businesses would want in on some of that cheap public plan goodness and push for new legislation opening access to the plan so they could get it. This is good! When Microsoft, Ford, and General Electric see that Blue Cross is standing between them and lower health care costs, Blue Cross is going to lose and America is going to win. If this is how things play out, we can accept some initial restrictions on access to the public plan, as long as those don't prevent it from displaying its superiority and drawing the interest of powerful players who will want it expanded.

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