This week, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post had a lengthy back and forth with me about the future of health care policy and Republican plans for replacing Obamacare. I encourage you to read the full post here, but I’ll excerpt just a portion of it for you.
Ezra’s accusation, in part, is that Republicans think we have too much insurance. He’s basically right – but there is a difference between saying “we have too much insurance” and saying “we have too many people insured.” Democrats see getting insured as an end; but for Republicans, more healthy people is the end.
What most of the conservative health policy experts on the Right want is greater access to quality, affordable care. They understand health insurance does not guarantee quality health care any more than car insurance guarantees you a mechanic who fixes what’s actually wrong with your car without overcharging you. They want people getting insured because insurance is more affordable, competing in a marketplace to provide people with what they want – and thus Republicans are focused on cost, while Democrats are focused on coverage.
Ezra argued recently that it’s okay that we’re seeing premium hikes, because people are paying for better insurance. But that’s a bait and switch. Obama didn’t promise that Obamacare would have people paying more for a better product – he promised premiums would go down $2500 and that most people would keep the same insurance and the same doctor they had before.