Whitehouse on Health Care Reform

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has a nifty summation of the state of the health care debate in The New York Times:

“If you compared it to the alternative, it looks good,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, about the prospect of moving ahead with a measure that does not have a public health insurance option. “If you compare it to the possibilities, it looks pretty sad.”

The Democrats are going to have to accept a watered-down health care bill, given the power of a handful of moderates in this debate. And that's unfortunate. But getting something passed, first, is the key. Congress can fix it later. That fix could include a public option. But it will also have to include serious efforts at cost containment.

Serious cost containment, now, would make the bill politically unpalatable. Just look at the hay Republicans are making over relatively modest cuts to Medicare. But with a system in place, and health care costs still a significant problem, Congress should be able to return to the issue.

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