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Beating The Retreat--Obama Style
President Barack Obama appears to be taking a U turn on his proposal of the government-run private health insurance. His proposal is being met with a hostile response not only from the opposition but a portion of the general public also have started thinking that he is trying to socialise health care in the US. The whole episode is taking a toll on his popularity.
Obama has been insisting that health insurance cover for the uninsured 50 million Americans need not be over-emphasized and pressing that the government must run a parallel health insurance organization to carry out this uphill task. Now, his U-turn may win him the support of the lawmakers in the opposition. The idea that is being mooted out now seems to be setting up non-profit cooperatives for covering the uninsured and these cooperatives and the private insurance companies will form a rational combination. Republicans may also fall in line with this idea.
Obama and his team are of the opinion that private insurance companies should have some competition and it need not necessarily be a government-run organization but it may be in the form of non-profit cooperatives. At the same time, the President is not in favour of the British system and wants to have a "uniquely American system".
Some of the Republican senators opine that cooperatives may be a "politically acceptable compromise". The State Finance Committee, which has three members from each party, is already negotiating for non-profit cooperatives instead of the government running a healthinsurance organization.
But we have no reason not to believe the President's intentions who wants to have both choice and competition in this sector and if the whole market is in the hands of the private insurance companies, they can not be expected to carry out the formidable task of providing health insurance to all the citizens at an affordable cost. The President expects that competition will put in place the best health insurance packages at a very reasonable cost and people can access the most suitable schemes from the guidance of experts in such a competitive market. Though the logic of the President's intention seems incontestable, he must have waited for the findings of the exercise that is being carried out by the State Finance Committee before he embarked upon pushing his idea decisively.
But the fact remains that this matter has become Obama's political and ideological litmus test and if he emerges out of this situation unscathed, he can justifiably take pride in the fact that he could display remarkable maturity in handling the situation.