Since there seems to be some persistent confusion about this, I thought I should just lay it out:
— If there were no constraints whatsoever, I would organize the health care system this way which is more-or-less what they do in Singapore.
— As an equally unrealistic idea, I think the National Health Service model from the UK has a lot going for it.
— Getting less unrealistic, I think a program of Universal Medicare would be excellent.
— In terms of the present-day political debate, I think mandate-regulate-subsidize plus a public option would be a major improvement over the status quo.
— But even though mandate-regulate-subsidize without a public option wouldn’t be as good, I still think it would be an improvement over the status quo.
— I don’t think reform advocates should “drop” the public option; I think they should fight for it and try to bring practical pressure to bear on members of the Senate to vote for one.
— But if in the final standoff we get a choice between mandate-regulate-subsidize and the status quo, I would prefer to take mandate-regulate-subsidize.
I don’t personally think that this set of views makes me a closet Blue Dog or an agent of the for-profit health insurance industry. Readers are, however, free to draw their own conclusions. But I don’t like to see my views mischaracterized.