The public debate over reform of the health insurance system that was supposed to take place in August was a bust.
It was hijacked by shouters armed with misinformation over phony issues like "death panels" and accusations that the reform effort is a ruse to federalize all aspects of health care.
That left a lot of Americans who harbor legitimate doubts about reform in the dark. Now that Congress is coming back into session, it's up to President Obama and lawmakers who want reform to bring clarity to this debate if they want to get the public in their corner.
The next few weeks are crucial.
The short answer is that the current system costs too much, leaves too many uncovered and too many others vulnerable to abuse by the existing system. Amazingly, neither Mr. Obama nor his allies in and out of Congress have managed to be clear about that.
Cost control is a huge reason to seek reform. In the last 10 years, insurance premiums have soared about 120 percent.
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