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Tilting at Windmills

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March 29, 2010

THE REPUBLICAN IDEA THAT REPUBLICANS HATE.... If recent rhetoric is a reliable guide, the part of the Affordable Care Act that Republicans loathe the most is the individual mandate. For right-wing activists, it represents an unprecedented assault on liberty. For right-wing grandstanders, it represents the basis for litigation.

But as the complaints continue, it's worth keeping in mind that the mandate has long been a Republican idea. Sam Stein has this report today:

Though Republican lawmakers now vilify the individual mandate for health insurance coverage as unconstitutional, the provision has long roots in conservative health care philosophy and has been supported by such GOP presidents as Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush.

Republican administrations were among the first to embrace the concept of forcing individuals to buy coverage. Nixon -- hoping to stave off the single-payer ethos of many congressional Democrats -- explored the idea in the 1970s, though Republicans now dismiss those discussions as the byproduct of a moderate president searching for a domestic policy victory.

Less than two decades later, in what remains an unexplored chapter of health care history, a surprising supporter of the individual mandate was George H.W. Bush. According to contemporaneous reporting, Bush used "the tax system to 'encourage and empower' individuals to buy health insurance and would enact insurance market reforms that make it possible for everyone -- even if they have pre-existing health problems -- to get insurance." In short: individuals would be mandated to buy catastrophic health insurance. The cost of that coverage would be tied to income, meaning that the poorer you were, the less expensive your policy would be.

In Nixon's case, Dems thought they'd hold out for a better deal after Nixon's presidency collapsed. In Bush's case, the proposal wasn't seriously pursued. But in both instances, among conservative thinkers of the day, the notion of an individual mandate was "in vogue," including having been endorsed by the Heritage Foundation.

To clarify further, this isn't an idea Republicans were willing to tolerate in years past as part of negotiations with Dems, but rather, this was a Republican idea. They're the ones who came up with it.

Indeed, I'm thinking about creating a roster of prominent Republicans who've either endorsed the individual mandate, voted for a plan with an individual mandate, co-sponsored legislation with an individual mandate, or all of the above. The list isn't short: George H.W. Bush, Richard Nixon, John McCain, Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, Scott Brown, Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, Bob Bennett, Tommy Thompson, Lamar Alexander, Lindsey Graham, and Judd Gregg, among others.

All of them have supported an individual mandate -- a provision that Republicans now believe to be an unconstitutional freedom-killer that must be eliminated for the sake of American liberty.

They couldn't have picked an idea to rally around that would have made the GOP look less silly?

Steve Benen 4:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (49)

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I think the list is a great idea! You should annotate it with highlights (Romney actually passed it as the centerpiece of the Massachusetts plan, which Scott Brown voted for). I know you've pointed some of this out for individuals, but they might just shut up about it and cut their losses if they see the full list.

Posted by: Jamobey on March 29, 2010 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Yabut Yabut..that was back before a Black man was put in the White House. They want him removed no matter what.

Posted by: john R on March 29, 2010 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Richard Nixon would no longer be allowed to hold a party card.

Posted by: Art Hackett on March 29, 2010 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Last sentence. Wouldn't you like to change "less" to "more">

I really love this blog,

so I am trying to help not pick.


Posted by: Harvey Holcomb on March 29, 2010 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

They were all 'for it' before they were "against it"

Posted by: Mike reilly on March 29, 2010 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

I wish Steve Benen would devote even half as much blog space to writing about why progressive Democrats are opposed to an individual mandate that requires every American to subsidize the profits of the for-profit insurance corporations, as he does to writing about the Republicans' hypocritical, opportunistic and phony "opposition" to it.

Reading this blog, one would have the impression that the only opposition to the Obama administration / Senate Democrats' "kinder and gentler", "compassionate conservative" corporatism comes from the Ditto-Head Tea-Bagger lunatic fringe right wing, and that progressive Democratic critiques don't exist.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 29, 2010 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Newt Gingrich

Posted by: MudFunk on March 29, 2010 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

It is a fact of genetic bio-neurology that a Republican cannot propose something, and then continue to agree with his own proposal after someone on the other side of the political spectrum agrees with it. It simply cannot happen. It violates every known rule of Teabagger Science.

Posted by: S. Waybright on March 29, 2010 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

As a fried put it recently... Nixon was a Progressive's wet dream.

Posted by: JRinDallas on March 29, 2010 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

"The list isn't short: George H.W. Bush, Richard Nixon, John McCain, Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, Scott Brown, Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, Bob Bennett, Tommy Thompson, Lamar Alexander, Lindsey Graham, and Judd Gregg, among others." Iwould really appreciate if you could provide links to their statements of support or contemporaneous articles. I have several conservative friends who believe that this is simply bull. I would like to prove them wrong.

Posted by: E L on March 29, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, c'mon Steve!! all the guys on that list are simply RINOs whom the demonsheep will take care of forthwith.


Posted by: fourlegsgood on March 29, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist: Except like the Republicans, the supposed "progressive Democrats" you refer to were for the mandate before they were against it. The mandate may have been championed by Romney circa 2006, but over the last few years the mandate is best known for being pushed by "bold progressive" Presidential candidate John Edwards, and Ted Kennedy. Barack Obama was at that time attacked as not being progressive enough because during the campaign he did not support it.

So anyone wanting to say there is a "progressive" critique of the mandate, it's just not credible. Anyone who actually opposed the mandate would have been saying something last July, when there was still maybe time to negotiate whether the mandate would be part of the bill or not. Instead at that time we heard absolute crickets.

There is no progressive Democratic critique against the mandate. All there is are a bunch of dishonest blog commenters pretending to care about the mandate as a way of getting back at a bill they're upset over for other reasons.

Posted by: mcc on March 29, 2010 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Newt Gingrich"

I happened to see him speak at a conference about a year ago. During the conference he laid out a health care plan that sounded a lot like what's just been passed.

That same plan was on his website until sometime in the spring or summer.

It was basically the same plan as his team proposed back in '93.

Newt even called for an individual mandate during the speech, with the caveat that libertarians could buy their way out with some sort of bond. Sounds like a tax penalty for non-compliance, non?

Newt also talked a lot about individual responsibility when it comes to things like diabetes and obesity.

This coming from a fat man.

Don't expect consistency from these guys, unless it's somehow self-serving.

And Newt's always asking for seconds.

Posted by: itstrue on March 29, 2010 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

A brick was thrown through a republic party office window. It was later decided that it was thorn from the inside

Posted by: apeman on March 29, 2010 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK


I'm not sure what SA's particular beef with the mandate is, but several progressives have concerns over mandating the purchase of private insurance without a public option. That seems legitimate to me. Why be so outright dismissive?

Posted by: doubtful on March 29, 2010 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

mcc wrote: "Instead at that time we heard absolute crickets. There is no progressive Democratic critique against the mandate."

Absolute rubbish. All you have proved is that you are not paying attention to progressive Democrats.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 29, 2010 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

It's become impossible to believe that there are any repubs left who actually give a rat's furry behind about this country, or the majority of the people who live in it. This 'debate' was not about health care, or policy. It was a ploy to sabotage the Obama Admin, regardless of how it effected the lives of millions of Americans. They are so intellectually bankrupt that they didn't even bother to hatch a new plan. They went to their (t)rusty old playbook and pulled the plan from the last time this came up.

They have no concern for this country, or it's people. The shamelessness of their approch displays a fundamental lack of common decency. And they are out of ideas to boot.

But perhaps I'm being to harsh. I suppose it could be that they are just plain stupid. Perhaps they say 'no' to everything because 'yes' has too many letters.

Posted by: JoeW on March 29, 2010 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK


Steve is kind of orthodox that way - his views are close to the Democratic party line. Or maybe he's more of a pragmatist than an idealist. But if you're looking for someone consistent who is going to tirelessly round up & digest news 7 days a week and occasionally serve as an anchor point to help pivot the national debate (a la health care), he can't be beat!

As for the individual mandate being a handout to the insurance industry, I agree. That's the system in Massachusetts, and it is a pain in the ass for low-income & self employed people to comply because low end insurance is still expensive, and it doesn't cover much. But I think that having health care for everyone, even as a massive handout to giant insurers, will eventually lead to a single payer or medicare for all system. Eventually someone is going to look at the gross government supported insurance profits and the inefficiency of the system and cut private insurers out of the equation - in a similar fashion to what just happened to higher education lenders. Insurers are just too damned greedy to take the gift that just fell in their laps, and they're just going to gouge themselves out of existence.

So let Steve do his thing and craft the narrative for the pushback against the right, and Reps Kucinich & Weiner (& you and me I guess) can take this legislation and keep pushing to make it what it ought to be. Cool?

Posted by: Jamobey on March 29, 2010 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

There are two different possible explanations, and I'm not sure which is correct (or perhaps it's a combination): (1) They are only opposing it now as a way of attacking the Democrats. (2) They only supported it in the past as a way of playing devil's advocate against Democratic ideas---they never seriously expected it to be enacted.

I think that conservative deep thinkers do occasionally come up ideas that are more for entertainment purposes than as suggestions for actual policies. For example, Milton Friedman once proposed a "negative income tax", but as far as I know, no conservative politicians ever seriously attempted to implement it.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 29, 2010 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum caught a great quote from Sen. Hatch that shows the unprincipled nature of this:

From Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on why he supported an individual mandate in 1993 but doesn't support it now:

"Well, in 1993, we were trying to kill Hillarycare, and I didn't pay any attention to that, because that was part of a bill that I just hadn't centered on."


That's unprincipled, all right.

Posted by: riffle on March 29, 2010 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

"That seems legitimate to me. Why be so outright dismissive?"

Because again, the way in which the "concerns" about the mandate are being raised are dishonest. If you are going to stand by and do nothing while the mandate gets written into law and then start complaining only once it's too late to do anything, then that's not actually opposing the mandate, that's just trying to score points for yourself. This is true when the Republicans do it and it's true when the "progressive" Kill-The-Billers did it.

The Republicans started complaining about the mandate in the last 24 hours before the bill passed. The supposed "progressives" recently attacking the mandate got started a little earlier-- the blogs started their critique of the mandate in late December-- but still too late to do anything, as the complaints came only after the House and Senate had both approved bills and the outlines of the final health care bill were set fairly firmly in stone. There are of course legitimate ideological objections to the idea of a mandate from the left side, but for all I know there are legitimate ideological objections to the idea of a mandate from the right side as well. Either way it's not important because apparently those ideological issues didn't matter enough to actually bring up when we were having a debate about whether the mandate was going to go into the Democratic health bill or not. Instead those ideological objections were raised only after the fact, after bills had passed Congress, as one faction or another tries to exploit for its own ends what is likely to be a politically unpopular part of the bill.

And I'm dismissive because I'm angry. I was one of the people trying to yell and scream about the mandate back in the time when there was still time to do something about it. And back then no one cared. I had the specific experience as being one unimportant blog commenter against a wall of alternating apathy and active support for the mandate across the progressive side. The big yelly blogs that did most of the work to convince people on the left that they really do care about the mandate, honest, in the last few months did nothing at that time. And the mandate became law. So now I see complaints from people who: never cared about the mandate over the two or so years it was discussed in the left wing context before getting set in stone; aren't actually doing anything now that could possibly lead to the mandate being removed or repealed; and would probably drop all objection to the mandate if they got some other sort of concession (like a toothless public option); and all I can think is, where were you? We could have done something. We could have asked for a different set of compromises on preexisting conditions such that the mandate wasn't necessary and didn't have to go in the bill. We didn't. And now the people who let the mandate become law want to try to pick up the banner against it. I'm not buying it and I'm not going to stand by quietly while people try to pass the complaints off as actually being about the mandate.

Posted by: mcc on March 29, 2010 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Well, mcc, I suggest that you go lecture Rep. Dennis Kucinich who has campaigned tirelessly for single-payer for years, and who objected articulately and eloquently not only to the individual mandate but to any so-called "reform" that would entrench and subsidize the for-profit insurance corporations at public expense, that he stood around doing nothing while you did all the work.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 29, 2010 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

May I remind the author of this article that the Republican party has changed ideals and philosophy so much in the last 2 years that what is or is not a Republican idea is very much up for debate. I frankly am glad that one of the parties is willing to cut some of the nonsense, even if they don't cut all of it.

Posted by: Jeremy Janson on March 29, 2010 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

There's a difference between stand-alone mandates and mandates-plus-public-option, with the public option acting as the counterbalance to the mandates. Everyone pays (whatever they can afford) but everyone (including the employers, should they choose) can also choose a public plan, which does no cater to the needs of the big insurance companies and their shareholders. That combination would have been much easier to tinker with in the direction of the single payer, than what we ended up with.

As for objecting to the mandates "when there was still time".... Well, the House version *did* have that counterbalance of the public option. Perhaps not as robust as I'd hoped for but it was there. So, the mandates were OK then. And then the PO disappeared in the Senate and wasn't snuck back in in the reconciliation version but the mandates stayed. That's what's wrong with it, not the mandates per se (at least in my opinion)

Unlike Sec Animist, I still support the HCR, because I think that *some* good to the populace will still be the result, despite the giveaways to the insurance companies. But I'm not so blind as to deny that getting to the single payer from "here" (the bill as signed) is going to be that much harder than it would have been from "there" (the final campaign promise, after Obama came around to accepting mandates).

Posted by: exlibra on March 29, 2010 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Hi exlibra-- so there are a couple things I might say to that, but first could you explain something to me?

In what way would the (as you observe, non-"robust") public option in the House bill have served as a "counterbalance" as you describe, but the OPM-administered/nonprofit plan in the final passed bill not serve as a "counterbalance"?

Posted by: mcc on March 29, 2010 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

I find the Republican railing against the mandate most amusing, and will admit to the wicked pleasure I have taken in pointing out to all conservatives with whom I've had this discussion that, were they to get their way and mandates were taken away, they would continue to enjoy the warm and fuzzy feeling they should get from knowing that currently, they're picking up 100% of the medical costs for the "parasites/deadbeats/whatever degrading term they're using today to refer to ordinary working people", and paying about 8 times more for it (ER treatment costing an estimated 800% more than preventative clinical care or intervention - which most of the uninsured cannot access without insurance). Whereas the mandate will require said parasites/deadbeats to chip in a little something towards their own care, which will make coverage less expensive across the board both by allowing people access to cheaper care options and reducing the cost-shifting within the health care system.

They want to get rid of mandates, thereby guaranteeing that the poor and minority people they hate will get a completely free ride, at their own personal expense.

Wingerism at its most classic.

Posted by: Jennifer on March 29, 2010 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK


What "OPM-administered/nonprofit plan in the final passed bill"? And what's OPM? Do you mean to tell me that I've been mourning public option in vain? I know that there's something about high risk pools but heard it's a state-by-state decision and it's "opt in", rather than "opt out" (weaker version, since inaction is always easier than action). Ie, it's what we'd call "seventh rinse water" to the public option...

Posted by: exlibra on March 29, 2010 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

sorry. "what we, *in Poland* would call... etc

Posted by: exlibra on March 29, 2010 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm thinking about creating a roster of prominent Republicans who've either endorsed the individual mandate, ..."

Just do it!

Posted by: Cal Gal on March 29, 2010 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

My instincts are to go with Daryl, at 5:15.

The Republicans really do not have policy positions. They haven't in years, and in the Bush the Lesser Administration it became so clear that several high-level people quit on that basis, the Secretary of the Treasury and the head of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives among them.

They have gone so far toward "the only policy is politics" that former "maverick" St. John McCain is now a flack, and the Witches of the Northeast, Snowe and Collins, have backed off from acting in any kind of principled way at ALL.

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda on March 29, 2010 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

"thorn from the inside ... "

From the mouth of Freud.

Posted by: Cal Gal on March 29, 2010 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

At this late date, after months of howling about death panels, killing Grandma, Obama being anti-American, the Apocolypse, turning into Soviet Russia and too many other bat-shit crazy things to remember (dammit, I'm not even close) they don't care that they sound stupid and silly.

In the old days, liars caught in an embarrassing lie would just change the subject. These people get more fired up.

That steaming pile of Palin-ness copied the screams of Boehner and incorporated a "hell, no!" into her mottos. I'm getting that Clinton era, Bush era feeling..where I wonder if I'm living in my own country because the opposition is so insane sounding.

Posted by: Miss_Otis on March 29, 2010 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

"May I remind the author of this article that the Republican party has changed ideals and philosophy so much in the last 2 years that what is or is not a Republican idea is very much up for debate."

And may I again suggest that you people register as ReThuglicans in order to biden with their primaries?

Fool I used to be, I registered ReThug in 2000 just in case California actually had a say in the thing, and I had a chance in hell of keeping the Shrub from being nominated.

I keep meaning to switch back, but every time a primary comes up, I'm much more energized to screw with the ReThuglicans than to vote in our (uncontested) Democratic primaries.

Register as a ReThuglican! Get their mailings and send all their stuff and a bunch of environmental stuff back in the pre-paid envelopes (which costs them MORE than first class postage).

Vote for the most idiotic ReThuglican candidates!

I sent them a check for 2 cents (or $0.02 - "zero and 2/100 dollars) with one of their lame poll mailings, which they cashed, and not much late I got "nominated to my (rural village) central committee of the Republican Party."

Believe it or not, some of my best friends are Republicans here in the outback, and I think they would really have been surprised to hear I was on the "Central Committee." (Sounds quite Communist, doesn't it? In my defense, they're fiscal conservative, Chamber-of-Commerce, nominally libertarian habitual Republicans.)

Plus, those two cents got me a bunch of "signed" photos from not only Dim Son and his long-suffering wife, but from the Dark Lord himself!

Never included Lynn, however. Hmmm... Nor Liz. Yet.

Posted by: Cal Gal on March 29, 2010 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

I actually oppose the government taking over and controlling the entire healthcare system and deciding how a doctor should treat their patients. That's the part I hate the most. -- AM, @23:25

In that case... You're so lucky it's not happening in this country; one less thing for you to hate.

Posted by: exlibra on March 29, 2010 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Hi exlibra:

"What "OPM-administered/nonprofit plan in the final passed bill"? And what's OPM? Do you mean to tell me that I've been mourning public option in vain? "

Okay. So the OPM is the "Office of Personnel Management". In the current, pre-HCR world the OPM manages something called FEHBP, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. This is the insurance all Federal employees receive. FEHBP is not itself an insurance company but rather contracts out to a variety of insurance providers who must meet guidelines the OPM sets. When the exchanges go live, they will contain one option (H.R. 3590 sec. 1334) that is a clone of FEHBP, using the same rules and managed by the OPM (but with a different risk pool). The OPM plan is always guaranteed to offer at least one nonprofit subprovider.

So: This is NOT the public option. It is not nearly as good as the public option, in a lot of ways not even as good as the watered down public option from the House bill, and it shouldn't be considered an adequate substitute for the public option. It's also in some ways kind of weird-- the exchange itself is modeled on FEHBP, so the OPM plan is kind of like an exchange inside an exchange.

However, for the specific purposes you're talking about-- does the bill offer any protection from the mandate?-- I haven't yet seen the explanation why it doesn't satisfy, at least as much as the House plan public option did. It puts something on the exchange that the executive has a finer degree of control over than the Exchange itself would. It provides a reasonable guarantee that some adequate health insurance plan will be available; if the OPM can provide adequate care options to federal employees, surely they can provide adequate care options to the rest of us. And via the required nonprofit plan it provides a guaranteed out from the for-profit insurance market.

I don't think the "the mandates are ok with a public option, not ok without" thing is valid, for a few reasons. This is one of them. There is some kind of spectrum from the robust public option, to the House style/"negotiated rates" public option, to the over-55 medicare buy-in, to the OPM plan, to nothing. And somewhere on this spectrum is an invisible (to me) line where if one is to listen to blog people the mandate-- a provision that was always part of the preexisting conditions provisions anyway-- flips from being acceptable or even desirable to being this horrific poison that causes the entire bill to become a giveaway to insurance companies. Judging from when the internet outrage started, this line is crossed somewhere between the over-55 medicare buy in and the OPM plan. I could maybe see something like this argument with the original, robust public plan, because it did something the others didn't-- the robust public option, because it leverages medicare's cost controls, is probably the best tool we have to guarantee affordable coverage available on the exchange. But I certainly don't see what the 55-and-up medicare buy-in plan does (in terms of how it modifies the effects of the mandate) that the OPM plan doesn't, and I honestly don't see either what the House-style public option does (in terms of protection from the mandate) that the OPM plan doesn't.

Posted by: mcc on March 30, 2010 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

Also the "high-risk pool" is something unrelated.

Posted by: mcc on March 30, 2010 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that Republicans will not hesitate in the slightest to reverse a position, often for political gain, but usually just to annoy liberals out of pure spite, is exactly why I have no respect for Democrats who idiotically adopt GOP ideas and then desperately, embarrassingly, and ultimately futilely beg Republicans for approval.

Since Republicans will never accept Democrats' "compromises", Democrats might as well simply support the best policies and accept that there will be whining from the other side of the aisle. At least you'll be able to defend your policies because you believe in them.

To those who would defend the individual mandate on the merits, I disagree on multiple levels that it is good policy, but at least we can have a reasoned debate on that score.

To those who never liked the individual mandate, but foolishly were willing to accept it as a compromise and are now scratching their heads trying to figure out why the GOP is running from it...well, now you look pretty fucking stupid and pathetic, don't you?

Posted by: square1 on March 30, 2010 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

square1, except again, the mandate was never a "compromise" with the Republicans. It was Democrats and progressives that demanded the mandate, claiming it was a necessary prerequisite for "universal health care". The Republicans did endorse the mandate as a policy idea prior to 2006 but as far as this particular debate about health care reform has gone, didn't seem to notice the mandate was even in the bill until this month. They had a number of things they considered priorities to either demand in or out of the bill (they did complain about the employer mandate a fair amount) and as far as this last year goes this just wasn't one of them, either pro or con.

The mandate is something that practically everyone seems to have pushed for on policy grounds at some point, but now that it's here everybody wants to pretend they had nothing to do with it.

Posted by: mcc on March 30, 2010 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

Sen. Max Baucus:

"I wish to single out one person, and that one person is sitting next to me. Her name is Liz Fowler. Liz Fowler is my chief health counsel. Liz Fowler has put my health care team together. Liz Fowler worked for me many years ago, left for the private sector, and then came back when she realized she could be there at the creation of health care reform because she wanted that to be, in a certain sense, her profession lifetime goal. She put together the White Paper last November-2008-the 87-page document which became the basis, the foundation, the blueprint from which almost all health care measures in all bills on both sides of the aisle came."

Weeelll, isn't that interesting.

Now we know why there was no serious consideration by the power-brokers in Washington of either universal single-payer or a public option. Instead, we end up with an industry-friendly taxpayer-funded mandate forcing U.S. citizens to get private health insurance, an idea promoted first by Republicans and then by Blue Dog Democrats, who as a voting bloc in Congress made certain that there would be no universal single-payer or public option.

We definitely need more liberal progressive Democrats in Congress (and in the White House) if our healthcare-backward nation is ever to see universal healthcare coverage at an affordable price, like all other advanced western civilize democracies have.

Posted by: The Oracle on March 30, 2010 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

After all, didn't the Republican Party hold the patent on "personal responsibility", which this is all about?

Posted by: bob h on March 30, 2010 at 5:35 AM | PERMALINK

They couldn't have picked an idea to rally around that would have made the GOP look less silly?

Could the Democrats have picked an idea that would have made them look less progressive?

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I actually oppose the government taking over and controlling the entire healthcare system and deciding how a doctor should treat their patients. That's the part I hate the most. -- AM, @23:25

In that case... You're so lucky it's not happening in this country; one less thing for you to hate.

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A little detail is being overlooked: “Republican administrations were among the first to embrace the concept of FORCING individuals to buy coverage.
The current Dem plan that is being jammed down our throat doesn’t do that. A relatively tiny fine via tax filing if you still choose not to buy health coverage is hardly the incentive to buy insurance. Duh, if I don’t wanna buy coverage, will I A). Buy an inexpensive plan for $4-5K, *or*, B), I will pay the small fine. Oh, but now health insurers can’t deny you & there's no max pay-outs...even more reason to NOT buy it until I get cancer, have hideous car accident, want to become a 500 lb. lark driver, etc.

Net result: Private insurers will eventually be forced out of business, and we’ll have only the public option (gov't workers running your healthcare, making your decisions), except if you’re very rich or party of our nation's royalty, i.e. Congress & their staff.

Wake up people, have a little forsight.

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