It’s All “Real” Health Care Reform


Katrina Vanden Heuvel has an interesting interview with Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) about his quest to create some room for single-payer around the health reform table. I’m in sympathy with Sanders’ goals, and it’s my belief that if we get a health reform package that includes a “strong” public plan—something along the lines of what’s in Ted Kennedy’s bill—then we’ll be on the right track. But I did want to push back against a piece of language she uses that I’ve also heard elsewhere:

This week, Senator Bernie Sanders has been firing on all cylinders as he continues his advocacy for real healthcare reform that controls costs while extending quality care to every American.

Even something very watered down like this proposal from Third Way would, especially when combined with the other reform proposals that relate to other issues, very much be real reform that would do a lot to help a lot of people. I think a robust public plan is highly desirable and people ought to work for it. But they shouldn’t be working for that goal in a manner that winds up disparaging all the other aspects of health care reform. Creating a regulated health care exchange and providing subsidies to ensure that insurance is affordable for all are very important in their own right. It’s all real reform. It’s just a question of how much real reform are we going to get.