Broder definitively finks out

Obama tries to include some cost containment in health care reform, just like the “centrists” want. David Broder, king of centrism, is against it.

David Broder’s latest column reads as if it had been written by the health insurance lobby. He’s trying to scare people with the idea that “five unelected … commissioners” will “determine how they will be treated when they are ill.”

Forget the fact that the “five unelected commissioners” will be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, that their recommendations can’t take effect without the President’s approval, and that even then they could be over-ridden by the Congress. I’d rather have five unelected commissioners, or five names drawn at random from the phone book, determine how I will be treated than have that determination made by an unelected insurance-company bureaucrat whose employer makes money by denying me care.

I used to think that Broder was simply a victim of Beltway insideritis, preferring “bipartisanship” to good public policy. But now he’s taken an actual stand on a vital issue, and it’s clearly the wrong stand. Note that “cost control” is precisely what the Republicans and the Blue Dogs have been demanding as the price of supporting health care finance reform. But when Obama proposes something that, as Broder admits, would actually control cost, Broder sticks his thumb in Obama’s eye.

Maybe it’s not insideritis after all. Maybe Broder’s just too rich and has been hanging out with too many rich people.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: