Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More on "It's not their job"

I wanted to follow up on a previous post, in which I wondered why more large corporations, which are paying increasingly large premiums for their employees' health insurance, aren't pushing for national health reform. In the comments, SAM pointed out that some corporations are, in fact, involved in this effort, linking to the Coalition to Advance Health Care Reform.

To me, though, such efforts look like little more than lip service. Here's their platform:
Through this newly formed organization, the business community can join together with other likeminded leaders, to advance meaningful, market-based solutions to this crisis. By advancing a set of core principles to guide and shape state and federal policies embraced by the coalition, the business community can, and should be, in a leadership position to advance solutions that reverse rising healthcare costs, solve the problem of the uninsured, and dramatically improve the quality of care for every American.
What does that mean, exactly? They want market-based solutions (as opposed to a single-payer plan, I suppose), but where do they go from there? It's pretty vague -- more of a recognition that there's a problem and a commitment to continue to talk about it.

It kind of reminds me of those annoying Divided We Fail ads from last year. I was never sure what sort of policies AARP, the NFIB, SEIU, and the Business Roundtable would come up with if they worked together. Probably just a big muddle of nothing. It sounds great to complain about gridlock and demand leadership, but what are they actually proposing? Single-payer health insurance and a stronger social safety net? Guess what, they just lost half their coalition. Limiting medical malpractice lawsuits and reducing entitlements? They just lost the other half.

There's no shortage of good reform ideas out there, and some of them can actually be empirically tested. But most of those ideas are already associated with an ideology and a party. They don't necessarily become better ideas by melding with those of another ideology or party.

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