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Figuring out health reform

Tom Jackson • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:26 PM

Trying to keep up with the debate over what to do about health care in this country can be a daunting task. But a reporter at the "Washington Post" is here to help.

Fed up with claims that ordinary people can't follow all of the complexities of the debate, Alex MacGillis has written a primer that covers the main issues.

"Health-care reform is not that hard to understand, and those who tell you otherwise most likely have an ulterior motive," MacGillis says.

One of the contentious issues in health care reform is whether to to include a "public option," providing a government-run health insurance plan open to everyone purchasing an individual health insurance policy.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, both support public choice. Kaptur has said she would be willing for that public option to be offered by a cooperative rather than the government.

"There's no real evidence that a co-op would work," Brown told me last week. "Just like Medicare. I don't want private Medicare. I want public Medicare. It works that way. The attempts to privatize it have riddled it with too many holes. The government, because it represents 300 million people, has the resources to do that, can keep the private insurance companies way better than any other entity I can figure."

More on health care: The Plain Dealer has been running a series of questions and answers to explain health reform;  I'm underwhelmed by the paper's performance so far. I prefer the Washington Post's health reform Web site. See also the New York Times' health reform site.

Controversial free market reform proposals — radical alternatives to what's before Congress — include Whole Foods founder John Mackey's proposal and a suggestion to rely upon health savings accounts. A single payer system to cover everyone apparently is also off the table, but you can find out about it here, courtesy of Physcians for a National Health Program.

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