David Sirota, author of Hostile Takeover, had this reaction to the Wyden plan:
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden (D) is courageously stepping forward and presenting universal health care legislation. Joined by Stern, the advocacy group Families USA and the CEO of Safeway, Wyden is ignoring the inevitable taunts of "Hillarycare" that will come from the right, and the knee-jerk attacks of "liberal" that will come from the corporate-funded faux "centrists." He is, instead, aiming for the real center of American public opinion which has long supported government intervention to create a universal health care system. ...
We now have a U.S. Senator preparing to use the new Congress to force a real debate on universal health care is a major step forward. That debate will force the Beltway media and the country at large to start thinking once again about a big issue that confronts the nation - and hopefully, will get us back to focusing not on cults of personality, not on the horse race, but on challenging the hostile takeover of our government by Big Money interests and actually making substantive change that can improve the lives of millions of people.
Progressive health care policy wonk Ezra Klein, writing at The American Prospect's blog, had this to say:
It's been some time since I've run across a genuinely new health care proposal, but the comprehensive reform legislation Ron Wyden's unveiled today is just such a beast. ...
I have to spend some more time with the legislation ("c'mon baby, open up to me, tell me your secrets..."), but my snap reaction is heavily favorable. It isn't everything I'd want, but imposing the combination of community rating and an insurance floor will be a huge step forward. The cost stability offered to employers seems very, very savvy, as does the forced conversion of 2006 health costs into salary increases.
The Lewin Group, the gold standard in health care actuarial data (I can't believe I just wrote that sentence), has evaluated the plan. Their conclusion? The plan would cover more than 99 percent of Americans, we'd save $4.8 billion in the first year and $1.48 trillion over the next decade.
How's that sound? To me, it sounds like precisely the sort of big thinking Democrats need to be doing now that they're back in the majority.
Finally, the Oregonian coverage today includes this bit of reaction.
"It is the most significant reform proposal put before Congress for many years," said Bill Kramer, president of a Portland health consulting firm that does work for the Oregon Business Council but played no role in the Wyden bill. "It will become the plan against which all others are measured and has a potential to frame the debate in Congress and the 2008 presidential campaign.