Inaction Costlier Than Health Reform

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2009 7:24 AM CDT
President Barack Obama speaks on health care reform in the Rose Garden at the White House, Tuesday, July 21, 2009, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
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(Newser) – If you want to see a health care plan that will hike your taxes, increase your medical expenses, and swell the deficit, Steven Pearlstein can name one: "Doing nothing as we continue to search in vain for the perfect plan." For the Washington Post columnist, a somewhat flawed health bill is better than none, and at the moment "the outlines of a good reform plan are there"—universal coverage, controlled costs, and improved quality.

President Obama has blundered by trying to build support with broad promises, particularly his pledge not to add a penny to the deficit. A good health plan might add to the deficit at first but bring it down later, Pearlstein writes. And Obama's promised that anyone who likes his current health insurance can keep it. But the reality is that moving away from "fee-for-service medicine" to focus on improving health outcomes will in fact be a different system. Still, health care reform is viable now, Pearlstein writes: "In recent days, the rumors of the death of health care reform have been greatly exaggerated."