Battlepanda: Going for the Brass Ring on healthcare


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Going for the Brass Ring on healthcare

Well, the blogisphere is ready to rumble in any case. In the past, I had pretty much resigned to accepting that inroads into nationalized healthcare is going to have to come from the state level. But I am obviously very willing to be persuaded otherwise.

-- Ezra argues very convincingly that if we're going to push for Nationalized Healthcare, we need to go for the real-McCoy, not some watered-down compromise-ridden scheme designed to appease that mythical creature, the moderate Republican. We need to accept already that any nationalized healthcare scheme, no matter how timid, is going to get hammered as hard as the Republicans can hammer it. What we need to do is to come up with a scheme strong enough, simple enough and unified enough (in Democrat's support for such a scheme) that it can withstand the assult.

Think about it: We're trying to get the American people to accept that the government is going to foot their health bill. If we consider this to be a hard sell, we'll never convince anyone of anything. They scream "socialized medicine". We scream "It's wrong for you to lose your house if you kid gets cancer".

-- Greg Anrig:

So why not make UHC, UHC, UHC the one and only item on the progressive economic reform agenda to simplify matters and focus the public mind?

By comparison, no other single policy or collection of ideas would come nearly as close to addressing the heart of what is ailing the U.S. economy. Job insecurity, income fluctuations, economic and social inequality, poor public health, weakening global competitiveness, and federal/state government budget shortfalls now and in the future all would be significantly alleviated if the nation could make the leap to a system of health care for everyone. In the process, both the public sector and private sector would become more efficient. As Social Security in this country and the health care systems of other nations demonstrate, governments are good at insurance – they get far more bang for the buck than the private sector because everyone is in the coverage pool, leverage can be exerted to control costs, and economies of scale work magic. The private sector, in turn, can be left to focus on its core businesses while compensating their workers for their growing productivity in the form of higher wages rather than merely, at best, sustaining an increasingly meager but costly benefits package.

-- Kevin Drum:
Hell, even Mickey Kaus supports universal healthcare.

This is a little odd, isn't it? Can you think of any other major policy issue that's (a) universally supported by liberal bloggers but (b) almost universally feared by major Democratic politicians? There are plenty of disconnects between the activist blogosphere and mainstream liberal politicians, but is there any other disconnect quite this deep and this clear?

I can't think of one. And while I'm not naive about the recent history of national healthcare plans, it still strikes me as a bit mysterious that virtually no major Democratic politician supports full-on, unapologetic universal healthcare. If there's any single big progressive policy that I think the blogosphere is a genuine bellwether for, this is probably it.

Is the Democratic Party ready to stand for something? Again and again we've seen short-term political cowardice turn into long-term electoral liabilities. Here is an issue which, though hot to handle in the short run, promises rich dividends in the future. It's a risk worth taking. You need to cast a long line to reel in the big fish.