With the changing political environment in Washington, DC, many of our public policy debates will change as well. I expect that, in healthcare policy, we will see more discussion of ideas like a public health insurance option and even Medicare for All.
Often, these debates are framed as a compassionate left advocating for more equitable access to health care versus a reluctant right restricting access to care for the sake of keeping taxes or public expenditures low. I don’t think this is a fair or accurate framing.
I recently had the opportunity to talk about health policy in a FreedomHub webinar. Here’s a link to the video:
In this webinar, I talk about the “health policy continuum,” which I visualize as a football field. If today we are on the 50-yard line, with a quasi-public, quasi-private healthcare policy in America under the Affordable Care Act (or ObamaCare), look for both sides to move the ball toward their two opposite end zones (and learn to look for what incremental policy changes will get them closer to their ultimate goals).
My advice is to stay on offense as much as possible (even if you are on defense: “The best defense is a good offense!” In other words, say what you are for, not just how you plan to get there or why the other team’s ideas are bad.)
I also talk about the “terminology trap” that influences our debate so much. How often do people say health care when they really mean health coverage? What does it really mean to have a pre-existing condition (there’s a buzzword for you!)? Is a public option really optional? Is Medicare for All any different from socialized medicine? (Hint: The answer to that last one is no, but you’ll see people using these terms differently, depending on their political objectives and leanings.)
Finally, I answer some questions about what’s going on in our healthcare debate presently. America doesn’t have a health care crisis, but we do have a health costs crisis. And in many ways, we have a health choice crisis. Think about it: If you are like me, you make few choices in your own health care. I didn’t choose my health insurance plan. My husband’s employer did. And I didn’t choose my doctors or hospital. My insurance company chose them by selecting them into the covered “network.” Americans should have greater choices in their coverage and care, not fewer. And we should work toward a public policy that allows for these choices.