Blue Dog Democrats for Bigger Deficits

Matthew Yglesias:>Matthew Yglesias: Blue Dog Public Plan Ideas Are Not What Deficit Control Looks Like: Yesterday, the House Blue Dog bloc came out with a statement on the idea of a public option…. “(2) Medicare payment rates should not be used as the basis for reimbursement. (3) The public health care option would be financially stable, and that it be employed only in the absence of adequate competition and cost containment.”…>[P]oint… is… the core…. [T]he appeal of the public plan is precisely that it would use… Medicareesque rates… [to] produce a plan that’s cheaper…. [P]rivate insurance companies would either need to find ways to get costs down to Medicareesque levels or else find ways to deliver a demonstrably higher level of quality…. [P]rogressives are pushing for… the government to create additional competition. Insurance firms don’t want that…. [T]he Blue Dogs… [seek] to cripple the public plan’s ability to compete effectively.>There are some arguments out there for doing this on the merits. But… those most certainly aren’t fiscal conservative arguments…. Both the trigger mechanism and the prohibition on using Medicare rates are “moderate” ideas, but they’re not ideas that promote the coal of fiscal austerity. They do the reverse. Which is fine. Politicians don’t need to make austerity priority number one at all times. But this reality ought to be an important part of the context as this debate plays out…You could read the *Washington Post* and the *National Journal* for a very, very long time and never get that the Blue Dog Democrats are (a) for deficit reduction, (b) against administrative moves to reduce health care spending, and (c) for caps on Mediare and Medicaid spending.

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