Among things to like about the first draft:
- The plan reduces tax deductions for folks making over $250K to the same percentage (28%) that middle-class taxpayers get for their charitable contributions.
- It eliminates subsidies and introduces competitive bidding (yup, free market stuff) into the process for selling Medicare managed-care plans (savings: $175B over ten years).
- It requires drug-makers to lower costs for Medicaid patients (getting a little back from what the drug-makers finagled out of us during the Bush administration).
Then again, health care reform may not be as hard a sell as the noise machine across the aisle will have you believe. A new Kaiser Family Foundation report finds 62% of respondents say, recession be darned, we need to reform health care now. 13% of respondents report burning up most or all of their savings on health expenses (KFF survey, page 2). President Obama has the confidence (a "fair amount" or a "great deal") of 72% of respondents to do health care reform right; Democratic Congressional leaders also enjoy such support from 57% of respondents (GOP leaders come in at 38% on that question; see KFF, p. 6).
One complication in winning support for increased spending is the majority of respondents who believe the right reforms can fix health care without spending more money (KFF, p. 5). We can make that happen, but only if we go real universal and transfer our money from the inefficient bureaucracy and profiteering of private insurers to the efficiency of a public single-payer system. Even Blue Dogs like Stephanie should be able to get behind fiscal savings like that!