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Tilting at Windmills

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January 4, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

REPUBLICANS FOR HEALTHCARE....The latest news from California:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will propose that all Californian children, including those in the state illegally, be guaranteed medical insurance as part of the healthcare overhaul he intends to unveil next week, according to officials familiar with the plan.

....If enacted by the Legislature, his proposal would affect about 763,000 children who now lack insurance....That would be a small piece of Schwarzenegger's stated goal: to ensure medical coverage for all of the 6.5 million Californians who now have none.

Details are murky so far, but I don't think the mechanics of Schwarzenegger's plan is what's important anyway. What's important is that two of the Republican Party's highest-profile governors have now publicly endorsed the idea of universal health coverage for their states. In other words, some kind of universal, or semi-universal, healthcare has now been established as the rightmost bound of the healthcare debate.

Democrats should understand what this means: (a) universal healthcare is no longer some lefty fringe notion, and (b) the plans from Schwarzenegger and Massachussetts' Mitt Romney are now the starting point for any serious healthcare proposal. Any proposal coming out of a Democratic policy shop should be, at a minimum, considerably more ambitious than what's on offer from these two Republicans.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

Kevin Drum 11:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (58)

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Comments

This can't happen too soon. I just wasted another $2500 in "insurance" premiums because I changed jobs. Fucking unbelievable.

Bring on the socialists!

Posted by: craigie on January 4, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

A top priority of the 110th Congress is to close the borders to Socialists from Germanic speaking countries.

However, we do need more Conan the Barbarian types to rebuild our military forces.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 4, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

UHC (that's "Universal", not "United") and allowing it for the children of illegals ?

is Arnold trying to get himself assassinated ?

Posted by: cleek on January 4, 2007 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Anything coming out of a Democratic policy shop can afford to be considerably more ambitious than what's on offer from these two Republicans.

Nonsense. The Bush Administration already has a universal healthcare plan. It's called the Bush tax cuts. The tax cuts gave the American people more money so they can FREELY CHOOSE their own healthcare plan which best suits them instead of having one forced on them by big government socialism. The American people already rejected Hilarycare and they're going to reject NancyPelosiCare also.

The American people don't want to wait nine months just for a hip replacement. They don't want to have to go to black market health clinics just to see the doctor for the common cold. If liberals had their way, the only doctors left would be abortionists while physicians would be running black market health clinics to heal the sick and the poor.

Al

Posted by: The Real Al on January 4, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Trojan horse. Arnold and Rimney will let heavily Democratic states have what they think they want: Universal health care. When there's six year waiting lists for hip replacements like Canada, the rest of the country will lose any desire it has to follow the mistake.

In any case, what about health savings accounts? You put your money away ,then use it when you choose to get healthcare. It's partially subsidized by the government via tax benefits. Coupled with any health insurance you want, there's plenty of healthcare choices for all. Who could possibly object to letting people choose their own healthcare?

Posted by: American Hawk on January 4, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

evin, do you mean to tell the the unions and the Lefties were lying before the election?

actually, Balance The Budget Arnold was lying.

Posted by: cleek on January 4, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Amen Kevin. Now let's be pragmatic about this. Health care should be a right rather than a privilage. If those who are now uninsured, whether by choice or circumstance, can visit a doctor for a reglular check-up or for a minor ailment it will make all of our lives better. Emergency rooms can be used for emergencies and health care costs should be lower. On the down side we might experience a little less convenience than we now have, at least those of us with insurance. Just a few years ago it was reported that there were more MRI machines in the city of Boston than there were in the entire nation of Canada. Some procedures might not be as readily available as thay are now. But a little inconvenience will be well worth the benefits of making healthcare available to all of our citizens and ridding ourselves of the shame this current circumstance (45 million uninsured)has brought to the wealthiest nation in the world.

Posted by: lamonte on January 4, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Arnold ran for re-election as a quasi-Democrat; it appears that he will attempt to govern as one to claim his legacy.

Or maybe he is the Last Moderate Republican in America.

Posted by: James E. Powell on January 4, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

"some kind of universal, or semi-universal, healthcare has now been established as the rightmost bound of the healthcare debate" ... I would love to think this is true, but you forgot the two key qualifiers at the end of your sentence "in Massachusetts or California." Last time I checked, those were not battleground states.

Posted by: dynamic info on January 4, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Just this morning, I was asking: "Does Hillary have the guts to be for Hillarycare?" Obama and Edwards have both come out for universal health care, at least in priniciple.

Posted by: RT on January 4, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Note that Arnold's proposal provides health INSURANCE - NOT health CARE.

Big, huge, galactically enormous difference.

Health insurance does not guarantee health care, as anyone who has ever dealt with an HMO knows.

Yes, health insurance gets you a few steps closer to actual health care than does having no health insurance at all.

But let's not confuse extending health INSURANCE with providing universal health CARE.

We need to be extremely careful here. Any plan to improve the health care system that depends on private health insurance companies is doomed to failure, because private health insurance companies are the source, cause and cancer at the heart of the catastrophe that is American health care.

Concentrate on what it takes to provide actual health care to everyone, and it becomes obvious that the first step is removing private health insurers from the equation.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on January 4, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

There's a lot of intellectual dishonesty here. It's very cheap to give health insurance to children, because they are a very healthy group. Private companies could easily offer such coverage to anyone who wants it. But in New York (I don't know about California), such coverage would be illegal, because of community rating. So the politicians, having first prohibited the private sector from doing something, have the government do it so they can get the credit. I'm surprised a basically sensible (though a little too far left for my tastes) person like Kevin would fall for this.

Posted by: y81 on January 4, 2007 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Al - try not be such a jackass. A few years ago I was opening a small business, trying to live the American dream you might say. Our small group attempted to acquire health insurance and nobody (that's NOBODY) would insure us simply because my 3-year old son had been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. I sarcastically joked with the independent agent who was investigating the options and said "but what if we offer to pay a million dollars a month in premiums?" He looked at me stone faced and said, "It wouldn't matter." I inquired with the state insurance commissioners office about what choices I had at that time and was told, "Get a job with a larger organization." So please Al, don't lecture any of us about FREELY CHOOSING our healthcare insurance. The current system only insures those who don't really need insurance. That's the way the insurance companies want it.

Posted by: lamonte on January 4, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Who knew that Ahnold would turn out to be a better governor than the one we currently have in Texas? Our CHIP program leaves out families left and right. I only hope the Cali plan works a hell of a lot better.

Posted by: san antone rose on January 4, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Oh goody, now Michele Malkin can attack AHnold.

In either 98 or 99, she wrote a column for the Seattle Times where she joined with a lame brain Pub State Senator from Bellevue in attacking the State of Washington for joining with the Feds to provide health coverage for children. The Fed upper limit was $38,500 for a family of four. She and the Senator bemoaned that this was "Upper Middle Class Income" and that the State of Washington should not help the "wealthy". At the time, she was living in Wallingford where the average home was around 300 thou. One couldn't even "buy" a garage in Wallingford with a $38,500 income.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 4, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

lamonte

I have often said that universal health care should be a big issue for small business people like you and me. We should be able to compete on a level playing field. Big organizations with young workers have an unfair advantage over either small businesses and big organizations with older workers (Toyota v. Ford anyone.)

Health insurance costs don't help my bottom line one little bit, nor does it help me better serve my customers.

it is a variable that should be removed from the cost of doing business to allow you and me the opportunity to compete in the free market.

Don't mind Al, he is a paid hack. He doesn't have a clue what it takes to actually run a business.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 4, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

It's a bit like Nixon going to China. I think that businesses will begin chiming in on this as well, see the Auto industry. Ultimately healthcare in the US will be viewed as a competitive disadvantage to corporations. So this is where the next push will hopefully come from. It just makes sense.

Posted by: John on January 4, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

is Arnold trying to get himself assassinated ?

No, he's trying to get the California economy assassinated. Maybe nobody has noticed what's been happening to the California budget?

And Medicare, the premium example of government-paid health care, is going spectacularly broke.

Posted by: veritas on January 4, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Hawk, Health Savings Accounts are a good option. Just not an option most people have.

Al, the tax breaks, which are mostly on investment income, are another good option. But again, an option most people do not have.

The terms 'universal' and 'semi-universal' need to apply to all, not just those with the means. Either that, or conservatives need to redefine them.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on January 4, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk on January 4, 2007 at 12:13 PM:

..then use it when you choose to get healthcare.

Oh, then I can use it when I choose to have a heart attack.

Yellow Dog on January 4, 2007 at 12:22 PM:

...it becomes obvious that the first step is removing private health insurers from the equation.

Exactly. Let 'em sell supplemental insurance to those who can afford it, but keep 'em the hell out of any sort of universal coverage plan...But, considering the amount of money the health insurance industry feeds into politics, we'll all end up with some half-assed Mitt Romney-esque solution that requires everyone with the means to subsidize health insurance corporations.

Posted by: grape_crush on January 4, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK
Democrats should understand what this means: (a) universal healthcare is no longer some lefty fringe notion

Um, no, support from Republican governors doesn't show this. Its true, of course, and its been evident for years in the polls which show the majority of the American public supports it. But a couple of Republican governors in heavily Democratic states trying to get out ahead of their legislatures doesn't really have anything to do with whether, nationally, its an idea of the lefty fringe or mor mainstream.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 4, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

one thing to watch

is Arnold going to expand medicare to include children or have a system where uninsured children will be added to HMOs?

if they get added to HMOs it is going to be a horrible program just like Child Health Plus in NY. where the state insures all these children but the HMOs redline these kids into a special subset of their insurance programs this subset provides insurance but of course no doctors take this insurance.

Posted by: smartone on January 4, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Beyers - Thanks for the words of encouragement. I don't understand the aversion some people have to allowing everyone to have healthcare. Of course there will be those who abuse it. There are abusers everywhere, in all income brackets. It just seems so logical that eliminating health care costs and providing healthcare needs to everyone would make our lives that much less hectic - maybe even add to the national piece of mind. And don't worry, I'm not really letting Al get to me, I just like an excuse to use the word jackass and he provides that excuse daily.

Posted by: lamonte on January 4, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Well, perhaps our "liberal" media, represented by Andrea Mitchell, should inquire of our new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, as to her feelings about healthcare legislation.

That is, when Andrea, gets through mulling and mulling with others about Andrea's perceived view of the feting of the new Speaker around the Beltway as "Imperial". Did not take the "libs" long to attack the new Speaker. Which one will be the first to call her, "Her Majesty"?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 4, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Universal single payer coverage needs to happen and now. The idea that we still link healthcare to employers is insane. Even critics of the Canada system have admitted that only a small increase in spending there would eliminate waiting periods, and they would still be paying far less than we do on healthcare. Think about it, a huge tax break (gift) to every employer in this country by removing them completely from the healthcare mess. Whats not for conservatives to like about that? I know that would help my business's bottom line right away.

Posted by: Jammer on January 4, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, business people:

Where do you get the idea that you aren't going to be paying through the nose for the universal health care, too? Where do you THINK the money's going to come from? The poor?

A lot of commenters here seem to think that health care would be "free." Somebody's going to be paying for it, and only an idiot believes that a trillion dollar program is going to come only out of the pockets of "the rich."

Posted by: veritas on January 4, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of commenters here seem to think that health care would be "free."

like who ?

Posted by: cleek on January 4, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Veritas - intelligent people know that any healthcare system costs money and we ALL have to pay for it. That is the case with our current system but it leaves out 45 million people. The difference in universal care will be that most of the money will actually be used for healthcare rather than paying attorneys to find every loop hole allowing the insurance companies not to pay and putting excess profits in the insurance company executive's wallet. When people can make a regular visit to a doctor for a preventive healthcare visit it will cost far less than treating someone in an emergency room for a minor ailment or one that has been left untreated for too long. I will gladly pay my share for universal healthcare.

Posted by: lamonte on January 4, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

veritas, people are much more willing to pay a guaranteed cost now in exchange for avoiding unforeseen, catastrophic costs down the line. This is the very principle behind "insurance."

Thus, many people are willing to advocate for a universal health insurance program funded through taxes rather than face the prospect of catastrophic increases to their health care premiums (or a decree that they themselves will be marked "uninsurable") if they or one of their employees is diagnosed with cancer.

Posted by: Tyro on January 4, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

I have some differences with Arnie, and I think (as Yellow Dog noted above) this should be a bill for health care not health insurance, but I have to say that since he got his hide nailed to the wall over the initiatives he tried to pass and then turned into a Democrat, he's been a better governor than his predecessor (whom I voted for twice).

Posted by: anandine on January 4, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting handle of veritas - There is a Veritas Medical, where one can receive free confidential information regarding clinical testing of various types of disease. Ironic, is it not.

And to lamonte, Hear, Hear!

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 4, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Quoth Yellow Dog:

"We need to be extremely careful here. Any plan to improve the health care system that depends on private health insurance companies is doomed to failure, because private health insurance companies are the source, cause and cancer at the heart of the catastrophe that is American health care."

Well said. This is such an important point that it cannot possibly be repeated too often.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on January 4, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Hi Kevin,
This post of yours was facetious, right? You really think the entire country is ready for universal healthcare just because the republican governors of two of the most liberal states proposed it?

If so, and if congressional democrats think the way you do, we can expect a very strong republican victory in 2008. It's a shame, really. It seems that some small victories have gone straight to your head.

Posted by: Shag on January 4, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Arnold is/was taking advice from someone linked to the MexicanGovernment.Posted by: TLB on January 4, 2007 at 1:44 PM

The Mexican Government has gained political footing with CAL's governor! So that explains health insurance for illegals, and then on to Bush giving immigrants citizenship. We are going to annex Mexico, aren't we, under the banner of democracy, say down to the tip of the horn. (Bush heard there is oil in Venezuala).
Wow, this is better than UFOs over Chicago.
Sorry, back on topic.....

Posted by: Zit on January 4, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Shag: Know anybody who works for Ford or General Motors? Or maybe you circulate with the executives. Either way, big American corporations are way ahead of Arnold, way ahead of Kevin and even way ahead of me on the need for single-payer universal health care.

Employer-based, insurance-company-dependent health care is KILLING Ford, General Motors, their subsidiaries, their employees, their stockholders and all their families. Better than a handful of voters in that bunch, I think.

More to the point, the most influential corporations and industries in this country have finally seen the light on single-payer universal health care.

Not because it's the right, or humane, or decent thing to do.

But because it's the only thing that can save their asses.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on January 4, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Shag,

You really should use your glove more often during fielding practice - Starting to sound like lst basemen of the Mets of yore.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 4, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

You can add Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota's Republican governer, to that list. A couple days after he narrowly won reelection and the state democrats took over the legislature, he came out in support of universal health care for children.

Posted by: mngopher on January 4, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Where do you get the idea that you aren't going to be paying through the nose for the universal health care, too? Where do you THINK the money's going to come from? "

They already are paying through the nose for it, fool. And, since we are driving more and more people off the insurance rolls and into the emergency rooms for any kind of health care, they are paying premium prices for it.

Posted by: CN on January 4, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

As has been said correctly several times above, insurance companies are a big part of the problem, but it might be worthwhile to specifically point out one of the reasons. They spend 20% of their yearly expenditures on deciding who can be insured and whether a particular prodedure should be paid for.

If we just had the government pay it automatically (ie, share the cost among all of us who make money), we could thus lop 20% off the top of health care costs, which is on the order of $400 billion, which is more than the current federal deficit.

Posted by: anandine on January 4, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

There seems to be an interesting problem vis-a-vis the earlier comment I posted. Since I save off comments I leave, I see that it was in proper HTML format, but it's somehow been mangled above. Interesting.

Anyhoo, for those who want to know what's really going on and who really benefits from this scheme, read this.

Posted by: TLB on January 4, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

From what I've studied, the medical industry is the anti-business model. So, economics-based analyses are unproductive. Things are much more complex.

1) The healthcare industry makes money by making things more expensive. The individual chooses the most expensive services available (hense the godless number of MRI machines in Boston). The medical center wants you to have the treatment that will win them the most money, (and they also want you to be as healthy as possible). [Enlightened Self-interest] If your medical center wants more business, they make things more glitzy and costly, since people will seek out the best available.

2) It's makes more business sense to treat disease than to prevent it. "Got adult-onset diabetes?" "It's not something you can control, fatty -- It's something I can sell (medicines, amputations.)" The medical industry would prefer to sell a pound of cure over an ounce of prevention.

Which is why universal coverage for children is so attractive. Children have few chronic illnesses. And they are cheap to maintain. A new car only needs an oil change now and then, but a vintage Mustang will be in the shop all the time. So a politician gets reelected for seeming to make a tough decision.

If a politician were to address adult health care, that'd be something remarkable.

(I believe Massachusetts did do something remarkable -- creating a program whereby individuals and small businesses could get the same insurance discounts as large corporations. -unless that was defeated.)

Posted by: Public Health student on January 4, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

if they get added to HMOs it is going to be a horrible program just like Child Health Plus in NY. where the state insures all these children but the HMOs redline these kids into a special subset of their insurance programs this subset provides insurance but of course no doctors take this insurance.
Posted by: smartone on January 4, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

This is already happening in California.

Doctors are currently fleeing my EMPLOYER-PROVIDED HMO (to which I contribute a not insubstantial monthly premium), BCBS. In my county, it is now NOT POSSIBLE to find a doctor if you have BCBS HMO coverage. Their network lists hundreds of doctors, but none of the doctors are taking new patients under the HMO.

I agree in principle that we need universal healthcare. But I'm also convinced that Arnold is a shill, who will execute this plan in bad faith - in the style of Medicare Part D.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 4, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Mitt Romney's idea of universal heath care is individual mandates.

What that means is that instead of having the option of paying $1000 a month for bad health coverage, I will be required by law to pay $1000 per month for bad health coverage.

Posted by: EB on January 4, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Not to throw a wet blanket on this GOP liberal idea, but how much will this cost the state government? And how is ARNOLD going to pay for it? Oh yea, by letting rich folks pay less in taxes.

Posted by: pgl on January 4, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

the mechanics are ALL that matters Don't rock the boat baby. What boat should you be on? One Health Care Pool Under God? One big risk group? Do we actually care about one another? Even those other ones?

Posted by: tribalecho on January 4, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Late to the party but... my company, one whose name has become a common verb in the english language just is in the process of closing my office in OH, having moved the functions performed here to Canada. Why? For the 30% savings per head they realize by employing Canadians rather than US citizens, gained by not having to provide health care.

Small potatoes as these things go, only 30 or 40 jobs lost in this case but the fact remains.

Posted by: CK Dexter Haven on January 4, 2007 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Last year or so the Washington Monthly had an excellent article about the VA health system. It said the VA system worked very well for three reasons:

--Most VA hostpitals are connected with med schools, so the doctors are more aware of current research and more likely to use it

--A computer system that's the bee's knees

--It has people in the sytem long term, so it does preventive medicine, whereas most HMOs, where don't have a financial incentive to do preventive medicine since so many people shift jobs and HMOs every 5 years. They leave the expensive corrective care for the next HMO to cover.

Posted by: anandine on January 4, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

And once we accept the reality of health care for all children, maybe we can accept it for grownups as well.

It's incredible to me that we tie health care to the luck-of-the-job. How many people are slaves to jobs they hate because of the health care 'benefit'?

Posted by: katiebird on January 4, 2007 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

I don't live in Minnesota, but I believe their Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, has also promoted government medical insurance on a small scale.

Maybe someone from Minnesota can comment.

Posted by: frank logan on January 4, 2007 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Awful lot of smoke and noise, and even some cogent observations, but waaaay back at the top of the comments, the Real Al said, "The American people already rejected Hilarycare.... I read a lot of the subsequent comments, and didn't see anyone point out that *we* were never given the opportunity to vote on it. It was defeated in a congressional committee. In other words, it was defeated by our elected officials BEFORE WE EVER GOT THE CHANCE TO VOTE ON IT.

Now - am I right or wrong?

Oh and BTW, "Hillarycare" has two ell's.

Posted by: Rich Miles on January 4, 2007 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

More ambitious?

I'd settle for well-organized plan that was designed to actually work. I don't want to see another health care industry all-you-can-eat buffet designed to bankrupt the federal government and kill further reform.

Posted by: B on January 5, 2007 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

A single-payer bill, "California OneCare", was introduced be Shiela Kuehl and passed by both houses of the CA legislature, but Arnold vetoed it a few months ago.

The bill was a result of grass roots effort, which is still going on, but is very under-reported by the media, even progressive media.
For more see, onecarenow.org

Posted by: Don Bashford on January 5, 2007 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

That's the austrian school I like.

Posted by: The epitemologist on January 5, 2007 at 6:59 AM | PERMALINK
A single-payer bill, "California OneCare", was introduced be Shiela Kuehl and passed by both houses of the CA legislature, but Arnold vetoed it a few months ago.

See, that's what preparing for the state First Year Law Students Exam and second-year finals at the same time will do, I completely missed that being finally passed and vetoed...

Posted by: cmdicely on January 5, 2007 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

As has been said correctly several times above, insurance companies are a big part of the problem, but it might be worthwhile to specifically point out one of the reasons. They spend 20% of their yearly expenditures on deciding who can be insured and whether a particular prodedure should be paid for.

If we just had the government pay it automatically (ie, share the cost among all of us who make money), we could thus lop 20% off the top of health care costs, which is on the order of $400 billion, which is more than the current federal deficit.

Do you honestly think you will be able to implement a "no questions asked" health care system? The fraud level would be stupendous, never mind the spiralling costs.

Trust me, any government health care system is going to waste just as much time and money on who will get paid and who won't as insurance companies do. The Medicare regulations run to about 130,000 pages. The reason the Medicare program can strut around claiming low overhead is because it's the providers who have to carry most of that bureaucratic load.


Posted by: harry on January 5, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

As is standard when dealing with lefties and righties, the people who responded to my post clearly didn't bother to understand it. I wasn't talking about what corporate bigwigs want (I have no idea), I wasn't talking about whether universal healthcare would work (it obviously would), I wasn't talking about whether I personally support it (I do, in some forms), and I most definitely wasn't talking about baseball. I was saying that, thanks to several decades of Republican PR and mass media manipulation, a large swath of Americans outside of Mass and Cali have a visceral negative reaction to the idea of government-run universal healthcare. They are (wrongly) convinced that it has been an utter failure in foreign countries. Further complicating things is congressional democrats' brilliant insistence on getting the deficit under control (which is a smart way to win centrists like me) which will fly in the face of any big new government programs, at least until other aspects of spending can be brought to heel or taxes increased (and I'd move very slowly on that particular landmine). Thus, if you want eventual universal healthcare, the thing to do is not to get the policy shops working on initiatives more radical than the voters of the coasts can countenance, but instead to do lots of patient media spadework of your own (as Kevin himself has advocated in the past) to win back some ground in the minds of the American people. In my opinion, of course.

Posted by: Shag on January 5, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

"A new study involving 1800-patients and 6-major hospitals failed to prove the healing power of prayer. They said prayer does not work in healing. There goes the Republican health care plan."

Posted by: Jay Leno on January 6, 2007 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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