22 July 2009

Soft Support for Reform

Back when politicians thought all healthcare reform could be was adding a few more kids to the SCHIP program, just like every other single-payer supporter I know I liked to point to polls showing that a majority of Americans knew we needed to overhaul our system, that government needed to guarantee healthcare, that it was the dastardly insurance industry's grip on our politicians that was to blame and so on.

All along there were the Celinda Lakes warning that public support for healthcare reform has always been soft, and easily manipulated by fear-based campaigns.

Like this, you think?


And for those who do manage to keep their current insurance -- well, it won't cost $2,500 less, as Obama promised. Lewin estimates it will cost $460 a year more because of new cost-shifting from the government-run plan to private health plans.

That's right. The $1.3 trillion House health-care bill would cause millions of Americans to lose the insurance they have now -- while the rest of us would pay even more than we do now.
It's times like this when you truly appreciate the smart analysts out there, like Paul Krugman and Ezra Klein - who quoted Steve Pearlstein today:
Among the range of options for health-care reform, there's one that is sure to raise your taxes, increase your out-of-pocket medical expenses, swell the federal deficit, leave more Americans without insurance and guarantee that wages will remain stagnant.

That's the option of doing nothing, letting things continue to drift as they have for the past two decades as we continue to search in vain for the perfect plan that would let everyone have everything they want and preserve everything they already have while getting someone else to pay for it.
They say that people deserve the governments they endure - a pretty hardhearted assessment of, say the Cambodians under Pol Pot. But when it's a democracy, and when there's every opportunity to become educated, wouldn't it be true to say that a people deserves the health care system they're too afraid to change?

I'm feeling like picking fights about this - pretty unproductive I admit.

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