Columnist: Cost of Health Insurance Merits Discussion
The "real significance" of many of the recent health care proposals offered by President Bush, Congress and governors is that the "segregation of health care from everything else ... is now crumbling," Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson writes in an opinion piece. "For decades, Americans have treated health care as if it existed in a separate economic and political world: When people get sick, they should get it; costs should remain out of sight," Samuelson writes.
Samuelson continues that he does not "intend to examine -- at least not now -- all the new proposals," but he adds that "the Bush proposal does have one huge virtue: It exposes health care costs to the broad public" by recommending taxing some employer-provided health care benefits for the first time.
Samuelson concludes, "However our health system evolves, Americans need to come to a more realistic understanding of its limits. Underestimating its costs and exaggerating its benefits guarantee disappointment. If the present outpouring of proposals signals a start of our needed debate, it is long overdue" (Samuelson, Washington Post, 1/31).