Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bill Moyers Journal: Robert B. Reich - influence of lobbyists on policy, the economy, and the ongoing debate over health care.

Robert Reich
Bill Moyers Journal

The big decisions on health care reform are happening right now. Congress is "mixing the concrete" of the health care reform bill, as the economist Robert Reich puts it on his blog, "And after it's poured and hardens, universal health care will be with us for years to come in whatever form it now takes."

But who's doing the mixing? Robert Reich, who served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, tells Bill Moyers on the JOURNAL that the fight to shape health care reform is the biggest test to date for President Obama. Powerful lobbies have lined up to oppose what is being called "the public option," a key element of the president's plan.

The public option, according to Reich, is a government-run non-profit insurance pool, that, by virtue of its size and bargaining power, could control costs and offer people who are either uncovered by, or unhappy with private insurers an affordable alternative path to health care. Medicare is an example of a public option, notes Reich, with one important caveat — the Medicare drug benefit bill passed during the Bush administration expressly forbids Medicare from using its size to negotiate for lower costs, an important key to keeping prices down.

To Listen to the Conversation

No comments: