"Nobody can now say with a straight face that the U.S. health -are system is okay," said Paul Krugman in The New York Times. Polls show that Americans want unversal health coverage. Republicans are determined to block President Obama's health-care reform. If the reform fails, however, it will be because of a handful of conservative Democrats determined to kill key elements, such as "the creation of a public health-insurance option that competes with private insurers."
The details of this year's "byzantine" health-care reform bill are still being hammered out, said David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey in The Wall Street Journal. But the focus on public health insurance makes it clear that "Washington will have immense say over how, when, and through whom Americans are treated." So, even if Congress pushes the reform through, the courts will have to decide whether this kind of government intrusion is even constitutional.
An alternative to the public option is emerging on Capitol Hill, said Kate Pickert in Time. "Nonprofit, consumer-run health-insurance cooperatives" might accomplish some of the same goals—namely providing insurance for the uninsured and lowering "overall health costs by, in part, 'keeping [private insurers] honest,' as President Obama has said." But the "history of nonprofit HMOs is littered with failures," and it will be hard to get new health-insurance cooperatives started during an economic crisis.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Republicans love this new health care plan. Too bad it's basically a tax cut for the rich.
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- In defense of Gwyneth Paltrow
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 17 old proverbs we should use more often
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 8 tricks to surviving the holidays without gaining weight or being grouchy
- Don't blame Chuck Hagel: Obama's foreign policy has been a disaster from end to end
- A brief history of the Guy Fawkes mask
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