Two of my favorite elected officials, Sen. Claire McCaskill and Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, both have strong opinions about what constitutes reform (and how much any change will cost) of the way Americans get access to health care.
Claire is being pressed by advocates of a larger government role in health care to support a public plan that would charge premiums at the lowest rate possible and be able to negotiate rates with drug companies. But, Claire is insisting (correctly, I believe) on simply making health care more affordable and on bringing down costs.
Peter is having his natural good nature challenged by his fiscal conservatism. He is insisting (correctly, again) that any mandate from the federal government not bust states' budgets.
I do not have any philosophical objections to a public option. Medicare, Social Security, the National Park Service, and the Coast Guard are all public options. I strongly believe that Missouri was wrong to exclude so many people from its Medicaid rolls. And I talk to the owners of small and large businesses every day, who believe that the costs of health care are breaking them.
We need change.