Silver: Don't Forget Wyden's Health Plan

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2009 9:44 AM CDT
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyde in 2007.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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(Newser) – When a bipartisan group of six senators sent a letter to Harry Reid yesterday asking him to slow down on health care reform, one name stood out to Nate Silver of Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon. At first glance, the liberal-ish senator doesn't seem to fit with the other five. What gives? Wyden is pushing his own health care plan—Silver is a fan, as are advocates on both the left and right—and this may be a sign that Wyden thinks his bill has a legitimate shot if the more "traditional" versions stall.

Wyden's Healthy Americans Act can't be characterized as liberal or conservative. "It's just different," says Silver, and a "lot of smart, progressive folks" think it's the way to go. It would eliminate the benefits tax exemption, create a national health insurance exchange, and "set some rather explicit cost-containment targets." The White House wants reform. It "ought to at least be actively considering whether Wyden's bill is the way" to get there.