Matt Miller is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; a contributing editor at Fortune; and the host of "Left, Right & Center," public radio's popular week-in-review program. Miller's first book, The Two Percent Solution: Fixing America's Problems In Ways Liberals And Conservatives Can Love, was published in 2003, and was a Los Angeles Times bestseller. His latest book, The Tyranny Of Dead Ideas, was published by Henry Holt/Times Books in January 2009. Miller served as Senior Advisor to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1995. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.
Question: What’s the way forward for health care in the United States?
Miller: I think that what we need to move to is government assuring that everybody has basic health coverage. That doesn’t mean it has to be Canadian single-payer style system which is often what the conservative canard as about this kind of change, but you can have government make sure that the funding is available, say, for subsidies for low income people who need help buying a private plan. But everybody has to have access to group coverage. You can’t leave people on the individual market because, as we know, if you’re in the individual market and you’ve got any kind of illness yourself, you’re not going to be able to get insurance or people will try and charge you $50,000 a year which is obviously the same as having no insurance. But, again, there are models abroad, Holland, Switzerland where you’ve got market friendly universal health coverage, where essentially the government makes sure the people who need it have a voucher to help them buy from among competing private plans, and everyone has access to group rates. And, you know, again, in theory, it’s one of those things that’s common sense, but there’s a lot of vested interest built up around the current debt idea, and I think the pressure of events, economically, has gotten us to a point where we’re going to revisit that in the next few years.