Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich says the health care reform bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives — as well as the proposed bill put forth by Sen. Max Baucus — will “cost more than it will save.”
Writing an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on his blog, Reich, who has advised the Obama administration too, notes that the public option in the House bill is open only to those without employer-provided health insurance.
“That will be too small a number to have bargaining clout to get good deals from drug companies and medical providers,” writes Reich.
“And it will mainly attract people who have more expensive medical needs, which is why the Congressional Budget Office decided it would cost more than it would save. “
Reich thinks that if states were allowed to opt out of the public option, the largest states would almost certainly opt in, which would provide the program with the leverage needed to negotiate deals from drug companies and medical providers.
However, there’s a catch.
“The deals the White House and Max Baucus made with the drug companies and the AMA will force Americans to pay even more,” writes Reich.
“If, on the other hand, Medicare were allowed to negotiate lower drug prices, biotech drugs weren't granted a twelve-years monopoly, and doctors had to accept Medicare reimbursements in line with legislation enacted years ago, Americans would save billions.”
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid on Wednesday released the Senate version of the healthcare overhaul. A first test vote is expected by the end of the week.
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