Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren
links for 2009-11-16

"Criticizing the Health Care Bill for Not Doing Enough on Cost Control Is Like Criticizing the Yankees for Not Winning the Super Bowl..."

Ezra Klein talks to Jon Gruber:

Does health-care reform do enough on cost control?: My view is, even if the bill did no cost control it would be an incredible thing for this country. But politically, it sets the stage for cost control in two senses. First, it puts in place all the things we can do now. It does comparative effectiveness and pilots and all the rest. But second, once you get coverage off the table, the conversation gets more focused on cost control.... [I]n Massachusetts... Health Care for All... realized that they would lose all this coverage they'd gained if it didn't control costs. So they got behind real cost-control measures. A global budget, even. People say you can't do coverage without cost control. I think it's the opposite. You can't do cost control before coverage. We would do a huge amount for the cause of cost control just by covering people....

One of my frustrations with the cost-control discussion is that people set this up like a choice between this bill and a bill with more cost control. In reality, it seems more like a choice between this bill and nothing. And this bill does a lot more cost control than nothing.... Do you know Pascal's wager? Why not believe in God? I think of health-care reform similarly. We don't know if we'll really bend the cost curve. But if we do this and we don't do anything, we still go bankrupt in 100 years. We don't lose much. But if we do it and it works, then it's a savior.

It also moves the conversation on cost control.... It does real things... then it does real things to make cost control more politically viable.... To kill this bill for not doing enough on cost control would be like criticizing the Yankees for not winning the Super Bowl. They won the World Series! They did what they could do!