The benefits of congressional healthcare reform bills are open to debate—or are they? At a Nov. 19 program in Chicago presented by the McCormick Freedom Project, “The Struggle Continues: Health Care Reform,” Physicians for a National Health Program National Coordinator Quentin Young squared off against Michael Tanner, a senior fellow of the Cato Institute.
Young, an advocate of a single-payer system, slammed the House bill from the left, calling it a “deeply flawed bailout” of the private healthcare insurance industry. On the other side, Tanner, a free-market advocate and author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution, attacked the Senate bill for its length: about 2,000 pages; its weight; the number of times “shall” is used; and its original cost: $849 billion (since downgraded a tad to $848 billion). “I remember when $849 billion was a lot of money,” Tanner said. “Now it’s a rounding error in the latest bailout.”
When the two finished their remarks, an audience member asked moderator and former Chicago Tribune correspondent Timothy McNulty why wasn’t anyone there defending the bill? McCormick representatives replied that they couldn’t find anyone, and said they had asked the American Medical Association, the office of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and others and they were either turned down or never received a response.