Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Healthcare War is Now Official

Yesterday the American Medical Association came out against a public option for health care. And yesterday the President reaffirmed his support for it. The next weeks will show what Obama is made of — whether he’s willing and able to take on the most formidable lobbying coalition he has faced so far on an issue that will define his presidency.

And make no mistake: A public option large enough to have bargaining leverage to drive down drug prices and private-insurance premiums is the defining issue of universal health care. It’s the only way to make health care affordable. It’s the only way to prevent Medicare and Medicaid from eating up future federal budgets. An ersatz public option — whether Kent Conrad’s non-profit cooperatives, Olympia Snowe’s “trigger,” or regulated state-run plans — won’t do squat.

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