I’m not mad at a $250 donation and Sean Kitchen’s not really either, but he’s right that people should know Allyson Schwartz has gotten a lot of money from health care providers over the years.
Maybe that’s because she’s been representing a district with a lot of health care providers, and voters employed on the provider side of the health care system. Maybe that’s because interest group political donations are more about betting on who’s going to win and being on friendly terms with whoever it is, than they are about attempts to “buy” politicians. But maybe, and this would be the worst, it’s that Schwartz actually agrees with the health care provider view of American politics that incorrectly believes health care providers aren’t overpaid.
I can deal with the first two reasons. The third would be a deal-breaker. The Schwartz campaign has made some persuasive arguments to me on background that I only have a tactical disagreement with Congresswoman Schwartz on this issue. We both want to get away from fee-for-service medicine, and I now do not doubt Congresswoman Schwartz’s commitment to that goal. My perspective on her has evolved a bit since I wrote the posts Sean linked to. But I still do think this plan falls short of what’s needed, and I will continue to disagree on tactics. Maryland’s all-payer rate setting policy is a good idea, other candidates in the Democratic primary for Governor have told us they’re on board with rate-setting, and Schwartz has yet to take a position on this. Regardless of how plausible its passage is, the least a Democratic candidate can do is say it’s a good idea and pledge not to veto it.
I just do not think anyone should not be writing off price control strategies, and our goal during the invisible primary is to get as many candidates to endorse them as we can. That is what all the countries with reasonably low health care prices do. There is not some proven market-based alternative for anyone to point to that controls costs that well. It is not a coincidence that Switzerland – the country whose Romneycare-like health care system Obamacare will most approximate – has the second highest provider prices in the world. Price controls and “scope of practice” reforms need to be part of the next Democratic Governor’s agenda, in addition to the smart reforms like bundled payments that the Congresswomen already supports.