Saturday, July 18, 2009
The Party's Over
Up until now, we have seen some superficial co-operation among disparate interests over needed healthcare reform, but now the wheels seem to be coming of the bus. Republicans, conservative groups and some business organizations have begun accelerating efforts to derail legislation, by calling the Democratic proposals costly and dangerous experiments in "government-run" health care. Their main goal is to slow down the pace of the legislation in Congress in the hope of fomenting wider opposition. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has been quoted in the Washington Post as saying, "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo." "It will break him."
What we are talking about, of course, is regulation of the market, and figuring out how to cover all of our citizens. That is not "government-run" health care. In the many countries of Europe, for example, very few of them "run" the health care system, Great Britain being the notable exception. By trotting out their tired old stereotypes, I think that conservative activists are discrediting their cause, and depriving us of a real debate on substance.
The fact is that we already do have one "government-run" health care program", and that is Medicare. I will be the first to tell you that it does have faults, but it is highly rated by those it serves, and it is quite efficient in it's management, far more so that private plans are. So much for the evil, clumsy government.
We already have a dysfunctional healthcare mess for which we spend more than anyone else on the planet. The money we waste may not be a government tax, but we are paying it every time we buy a product made by a US firm or pay your insurance premium.