Opinion

The Great Debate

Obama’s troubles with healthcare

morici– Peter Morici is a professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland School, and the former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission. The views expressed are his own. –

Healthcare reform is in trouble, because President Obama and congressional leaders are not adequately addressing issues that trouble many Americans.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius caution Americans to ignore terrorist claims about death panels. Reasonable enough—unseemly critics on both the right and the left seek to stir up unwarranted hysteria.

Sebelius defends end of life counseling from physicians as a benefit families need when facing difficult treatment choices for elderly relatives. However, what worries people is such counseling in the context of government rationing.

All health insurers ration care—private insurers in the United States and government-run health services in Canada and Europe face tough choices and limited resources. U.S private insurers generally don’t deny or delay critical care that could cause death—officials implementing such a policy would land in jail.

The three urban myths of healthcare reform

Peter Pitts– Peter J. Pitts is president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and a former FDA associate commissioner. The views expressed are his own. –

When it comes to healthcare reform, as Aldous Huxley said, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Three of the most common “urban myths” of American healthcare are that:
1. The lower life expectancy in the U.S. “proves” the total inadequacy of our system;
2. There are 47 million uninsured Americans — proving the inequity of our system; and
3. We spend “too much” on health care — proving the wastefulness of our system.

Did the GOP capitulate on healthcare?

ambulance– James Pethokoukis is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

You can’t beat something with nothing” often passes for political wisdom in Washington. In 1994, Republicans defeated Bill and Hillary Clinton’s healthcare reform plan with pretty much nothing — well, at least with nothing positive.

Republican congressional solidarity, along with help from business group attack ads and the Clintons’ own political miscues, were enough to doom the landmark legislative effort. Back then, “No” was sufficient.

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