Please Stop Lying, Peter Orszag

It is a good thing that Democrats are trying to put together a bill that will massively expand coverage while reducing the deficit and slightly reducing premiums for a majority of Americans. That is a serious accomplishment, and something to brag about.

What the Senate bill does not do is take the serious steps that could reduce our national health expenditures by trillions of dollars in this country. This was by design. The Obama Administration decided that implementing most of these strong cost-controlling reforms would be too politically difficult, and so traded them away in back room deals with the different industry lobbies (such as PhRMA, AHIP, etc.).

Knowing this, it pains me to see Peter Orszag going around telling bold face lies:
Orszag seconded that notion, saying, “I agree with Jon Gruber that basically everything that has been put forward in health policy discussions for a decade is in this bill.”

“And then some,” added DeParle.

This is not true at all, and Orszag knows it. The Senate bill does not even contain many of health care reforms championed by Obama on the campaign trail last year.

Obama campaigned on allowing Americans to buy cheaper drugs from other developed countries, and giving Medicare the power to directly negotiate for cheaper drug prices for seniors. Neither of these cost-controlling reforms are in the Senate bill, and they are unlikely to make it into the final bill because Obama personally promised PhRMA he would keep them out as part of their secret deal. I can accept that because of the political realities in this country, Obama decided it would be too difficult to include many of these reform ideas in the overall bill. What I can't accept is this heavy-handed attempt to pretend these dropped reform ideas never existed in the first place. Mr. Orszag, the American people deserve better than these lies.

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