13 March 2007

Yep — even Republicans

David Moberg, an editor of In These Times, has a good essay on AlterNet titled, "Even Republicans Hate Our Health Care System."

For the most part, yes, although they're not necessarily inclined to see the same solution that we are. A neighbor stopped by yesterday — you couldn't find a nicer person. Republican. Her husband's daughter doesn't have health insurance. I told her I thought Paul would still be alive if we'd been Canadians, and he'd been insured. Explained why.

Now this woman is far too polite to argue, so I don't really know whether I planted a seed. But she did nod and seemed to agree.

Moberg makes the great point that there's no use in going for reform that keeps for-profit insurance companies in the mix.
Like the creature from the Black Lagoon, the health insurance monster has returned, creeping back onto the public stage. After President Clinton's jury-rigged pen to contain the monster collapsed in 1994, it never really went away. Political leaders tried to ignore the beast or deal piecemeal with its ravages, but it pushed more unsuspecting civilians into the uninsured pit, devoured more family budgets, squeezed even giant corporations' ability to compete globally, and raised fear and insecurity among the populace.

Now its depredations have become too loathsome to ignore for even cautious politicians and business executives -- who still are inclined to see the monster as one of their own
He quotes economist Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute in describing the Right-wing's philosophy of healthcare (and everything else) YOYO (you're on your own) economics.

Lefties get a better acronym: we're WITT (we're in this together) adherents.

Madeleine Bunting wrote yesterday in the Guardian's Comment Is Free about this philosophical divide. In "This cynical ideology of individual selfishness is a relic of the cold war," she traces the insidious rebirth of social darwinism — which is a wrongheaded albeit logical line of thought for atheists but completely misbegotten for Christians, who are its major adherents.

For healthcare, the argument comes down to whether we get universal healthcare that is "a sliding scale health care plan where everyone is entitled to first class health care, or a flat tax to sell junk insurance?" That's from Don Bechler, chair of the California Universal Health Care Organizing Project.

Moberg argues that the Clintons tried to insulate their plan from the insurance industry's might by including the industry in writing it. Fat lot of good that did.

At this point, the crisis has gotten to where people are open to the debate. Maybe — like my Republican neighbor — they'll consider uninsured family members when they vote on this. Polls seem to show that Americans would consider it. Moberg concludes:
No plan worth having will win without a massive grassroots organizing and education campaign. And Medicare for all is the one most likely to do so, while simultaneously strengthening progressives politically....

Eventually, Medicare-for-all advocates might have to settle for a compromise. But the opportunity for major change in the health care system doesn't come around very often. Since any change will require a massive effort, why not fight for the best?

No comments: