David Frum comes out in favor of Wyden-Bennett and against the Club for Growth’s recent attacks on Senator Bennett. He points out that the very things the Club for Growth are attacking in Wyden-Bennett – namely “job-killing tax increases on employers” – exist in the Republican Coburn-Ryan plan as well. However:
1) While both plans would overthrow the existing system of health insurance, only Bennett-Wyden takes action to ensure that a new system is ready and waiting to fill the void. Bennett-Wyden would require individuals to buy health insurance, would organize state buying pools to ensure that this insurance is affordable, and would regulate insurance to ensure that coverage is adequate. Coburn-Ryan would trust to the market to provide. That’s normally a good impulse. The trouble is that today’s healthcare market has been so twisted and distorted by state governments that it does not in fact provide – and Coburn-Ryan offers precious few remedies to correct these state-imposed malfunctions.
2) While both plans offer government aid to replace the former tax exemption, Bennett-Wyden’s math adds up and Coburn-Ryan’s does not. A health insurance policy for a typical family costs north of $13,000 and rising. Under Coburn-Ryan, families would pay more in income tax – and recoup not even half the cost of a typical plan. Bennett-Wyden costs more, but that is because it is adequate to the job it sets itself.
3) Bennett-Wyden has won Democratic support and cosponsorship. It could conceivably become law. Coburn-Ryan cannot.
A few thoughts:
First, Frum is right on the money here. Wyden Bennett is the only game in town in terms of a real, pragmatic potentially bipartisan health care reform where the numbers add up.
Second, the politicians who come out of Utah are generally some of my favorites. Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, and Jon Huntsman just to name a few. These are principled, honorable men. Huntsman has a real shot at the presidency down the line. This just strikes me as odd.
Third, I’m not sure why Frum keeps referencing it as Bennett-Wyden except perhaps to emphasize that Bennett is involved and Bennett is a Republican….?