Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Musings: Health Care Edition

This just in. Thanks to the House Vote on Sunday, little Timmy O'Toole just received his new liver. Now he will live forever! Everything is dreams! Let's muse...

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It is no secret that the majority of Americans are firmly opposed to the health care reform package. It is also no secret that a minority of Americans are fervently for it.

What astonishes me is that there seems to be a vast swath of people who are largely indifferent, but inclined to support it because, well, at least it's "something". So and so, or such and such relative or friend is having a tough go of it, health-wise, and this will mitigate their suffering. To which, credit the Democrats for pretending that our health care system is in such crisis that any action, no matter how poorly considered, can be sold as progress.

But there's a trap door there, for Democrats. Literally millions of people think this is bill is going to provide immediate relief for policyholders. It instead provides delayed assistance to non-policyholders. That's a big difference, and it should mean millions of additional disillusioned voters come November.

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That picture of Nancy Pelosi walking around with a hammer is just creepy and weird.

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Good news for Twins fans. Joe Mauer just signed an eight-year, $184 million contract extension. Unfortunately, while the Twins begin paying him immediately, he won't play until 2014.

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Republicans are already vowing to repeal the health care reform bill. I'm on board, but I would urge caution with respect to the message. The Democrats were smart enough to lard the bill with goodies like prescription drug coverage. Over the next several months, expect them to campaign on those terms, rather than defend the broader substance of the bill.

Republicans should vow to reform the bill, rather than repeal it. This will help them avoid the charge of taking away prescription drugs from the elderly, and actually give them a mandate to, well, reform. Frame this bill as one that, while costly, doesn't do anything for the average taxpayer. "One trillion dollars of nothing" has a nice ring to it.

What would reform consist of? Dismantling the current bill, certainly, but the Republicans can add goodies too. As presently constituted, the bill closes the so-called "doughnut hole" by 2020. The reform package can have it done by 2014. If Democrats oppose, it's only because they hate seniors.

Demagoguery? You bet.

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Incidentally, this is an example of why "compassionate conservatism" doesn't work. The doughnut hole was intended to maintain some measure of fiscal sanity within a very expensive new entitlement.

Now, not only is the provision being eradicated, at considerable expense, but it is being used as a sweetener to get the public to swallow a much more expansive bill.

And what was Bush's reward for his "compassion"? Millions of compassionate types comparing him to Hitler.

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I have yet to hear a cogent defense of this bill. I mean that literally. The only people who think it will work are those who don't know what it entails.

Isn't that troubling? I think it's troubling.

1 Comments:

Blogger Marc Conklin said...

I found this pretty interesting:

"I've been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes, it mobilizes supporters -- but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead.

"Now the overheated talk is about to get worse. Over the past 48 hours, I've heard conservatives compare the House bill to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 -- a decisive step on the path to the Civil War. Conservatives have whipped themselves into spasms of outrage and despair that block all strategic thinking.

"Or almost all. The vitriolic talking heads on conservative talk radio and shock TV have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination.

"When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say -- but what is equally true -- is that he also wants Republicans to fail.
If Republicans succeed -- if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office -- Rush's listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less and hear fewer ads for Sleep Number beds.

"So today's defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it's mission accomplished.

"For the cause they purport to represent, however, the "Waterloo" threatened by GOP Sen. Jim DeMint last year regarding Obama and health care has finally arrived all right: Only it turns out to be our own."

- David Frum

2:31 PM  

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