“Is this the end for Harry and Louise?” said Paul Krugman in The New York Times. The fictional TV ad couple, created by the health-insurance industry, helped sink President Clinton’s health-care plan in 1993. Now, the “medical-industrial complex” is playing nice with President Obama, offering to trim costs and endorsing many of his health economics ideas. This might be a “Trojan horse” offer, but it’s still “tremendously good news.”
Slowing cost hikes by $2 trillion over 10 years sounds good, said Tom Linkmark in Seeking Alpha, but the proposals to do so are vague, and each of the interest groups—insurers, hospitals, drugmakers, doctors—has competing goals. Since they can’t beat Obama with a “frontal assault,” as with their “Hillary Care” win, they’re probably trying to “bend” the upcoming changes to their favor.
But that’s the big news: They’re playing ball, said Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic. The “dealmaking” with the major health-care stakeholders, including unions and corporations—all of which are meeting with Obama Monday—means simply this: “The White House is gonna get health-care reform, this year.”
Not so fast, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. The Democrats control Congress, but they’re desperate for a “veneer of bipartisanship” before enacting this back-door path to a single-payer government health monopoly. The two or three “credulous Republicans” wooed by the Democrats need to resist—this fight determines if Republicans “still stand for anything at all.”