Even as it appears that the House of Representatives has reached agreement on healthcare reform, the devil, as always, will be in the details. And in this case, what matters most is what form the so-called "public option" will take.
If approved, as appears likely, legislation that prevents insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions represents major reform. But I have a sinking feeling that by the time the Senate has its turn, the public option will resemble a poor combination of Medicare and Medicaid. If so, my confidence that this reform can reduce medical costs will be shaken.
For two very different views on the importance of public option, compare the stances of former Vermont Governor Howard Dean with Representative Michael Burgess (R-TX). (Interestingly, both of these individuals are medical doctors.)
Do you agree with either of these views? What form do you think the public option should take?