Cost Control, Cost Control, Cost Control

Tyler Cowen argues that "the proposed reforms will make the core problems of U.S. health care worse not better" after reading a new Center on Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) report (pdf). The report warns that the health care bill could reduce the profitability of treating medicare patients and that some providers might therefore stop taking medicare patients. Yglesias and Ezra Klein counter. Ezra:

Medicare cuts are a crude tool. The more damning conclusion from the CMS report is that the House bill has little else to control costs, and that's largely accurate. This report shouldn't lead reformers to abandon efforts to trim Medicare, but it should convince them that the bill can do more on the cost control front.

And that is a critical measure by which to judge the final bill. In this legislative process, this to and fro is vital. And what I admire about Obama's handling of it is what so many are horrified by: letting the debate unfold through the deliberative process, in full view, with as much input as possible.

The health insurance battle should not be a zero-sum war between Obama and the Republicans. It should be a non-zero-sum dialogue about how we can get the best practicable reform now. Of course, it will always be both. But we can do what we can to promote the latter.