The prolonged debate over reforming the nation's health care system reached a significant milestone last week when the bill cleared a major legislative obstacle in the Senate Finance Committee. With the aid of one lone Republican vote from Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, the committee approved a sweeping reform plan that would remake one-sixth of the nation's economy.
It may not be pretty, but it's progress.
The bill is the closest thing to improvement of the healthcare system that Congress has come up with since Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare legislation more than 40 years ago. It's impossible to offer a comprehensive summary of the pros and cons in this major piece of legislation, but it offers the prospect of change for the better.
The bill in the Senate is far from perfect. For one thing, it does not offer a public option.
That's not an indispensable feature of reform but one that is necessary given the bill's other shortcomings, as it now stands.
The bill requires states to set up "exchanges," which would allow individuals not covered by employer-backed plans to get coverage. But Florida and other states have tried that before and it hasn't worked, in part because private insurance has "cherry-picked" the healthiest consumers and left the exchanges with those suffering from chronic and expensive ailments.
Nor is the Senate bill fully honest about costs.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.