Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 18, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

QUOTE OF THE DAY....From Josh Patashnik, after linking to Michael Cannon's livid blast against Arnold Schwarzenegger's universal healthcare plan for California:

The conservative health care strategy works like this: endorse subsidies in theory, since it would seem unacceptably heartless to simply say that people who can't afford medical care shouldn't get it. Then, whenever anybody proposes a plan to actually implement subsidies, vehemently oppose it without offering any alternative plan to expand coverage. (Which is what California Republicans are doing.) In other words, let states experiment — except when they actually do.

Kevin Drum 1:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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Comments

Here's a simple question for the cons who are descending on this thread with tales of unfortunate Canadians waiting decades for a hip replacement:

Are you for or against universal health care?

Notice, I didn't state "government-supported" or anything of the sort. I'm just wondering whether we all agree that the goal of any health care system ought to be to provide health care to anybody who needs it -- sort of like having a water system that won't allow someone to die of thirst.

My suspicion, just as Josh Patashnik notes, is that the goal for cons is to make sure health care goes only to those who can afford it. The cons who don't want to come across as heartless sociopaths may pretend they'd like to cover the poor and the uninsured and the under-insured. But deep down the con's bottom line seems to be that if you don't have money to pay a doctor you should shut up about it and just die.

Any discussion about how to reform our health care system between libs and cons is pointless. Their goals and ours are totally different. Personally, my liberal position is that I want everybody covered. I don't care how it is done. If private industry can do it, then do it. But since insurers either don't want to or can't, government is the only option. For cons however the calculus is different: They have no problem having government waste my taxes on their causes (e.g. insane wars) so I don't think it's the "government-supported" part of universal health care they principally hate. No, for them it's just a personality trait to not want to share anything with their fellow citizens.
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Posted by: Aris on December 18, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Some small group of Libertarians want absolutely NO government but a much larger group will support a government but only to provide for the common defense (wars).

I don't agree with that position but at least they hold it consistently.

Posted by: Tripp on December 18, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Universal Healthcare= socialism.

Can't have it. Nope. No way no how.

The healthcare industry in this country is way out of control. Coupled with the obscene insurance rates.

How come we spend so dam_ much on defense and healthcare? Why? Because folks are getting filthy rich off of weapons and medicine.

It's not that repugnacans are heartless, it's more that they see their profits being infringed upon if all US citizens are covered by even a marginal healthcare plan that's taxpayer financed.

This debate will not subside, nor ever be reasonable, so long as there are abortioniks loose. For the same vehemance against abortion and contraception somehow spills over into the general healthcare debate.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 18, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Most intellectually honest libertarians see the scale socio-economic advantages of gov't financed defense, roads, eduction, and ultimately health care. Instead of looking at it like the gov't, you have to imagine it as just taking the place of an uber-corporation that everyone pays and gets some sort of baseline benefits.

And so long as the universal health care solution allows supplemental private contracts for premium care services - just like you can send your kid to private school - it would seem not to offend their sensibilities for market driven solutions.

Posted by: kis on December 18, 2007 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Aris:

No, for them it's just a personality trait to not want to share anything with their fellow citizens.

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Especially if the skin of those citizens happens to be black or brown.

Posted by: Larry on December 18, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

I am afraid that this is what the call for universal health care is going to devolve into state by state and I am not energized by any of the plans put forward by any of the candidates given that the American public which would be best served by a universal plan is so deafeningly silent in its support.

I am constantly amazed that those who would benefit most from universal health care are adamantly opposed even when they take advantage of Medicare.

Sad!

Posted by: tommy harper on December 18, 2007 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

The Cons' will next be telling us that old people should die if they aren't already rich.

Posted by: freelunch on December 19, 2007 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

"The Cons' will next be telling us that old people should die if they aren't already rich."

I'm assuming that's the plan behind the attempt to gut Social Security.
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