The Left as per Paul Krugman:
Serious students of health care have known for a long time that the magic of the marketplace doesn’t work in health care; the United States has the most privatized health-care system in the advanced world, and also the least efficient. The pale reflection of this reality in the current discussion is that reform with a strong public option is cheaper than reform without — which means that as we get closer to really doing something, rhetoric about socialism fades out, and that $100 billion or so in projected savings starts to look awfully attractive.
The Center as per Megan McArdle:
It’s easy to get cynical about the process of the health care bills. At this point, I’d say that conservative and liberal health care analysts both know the score. Everyone knows that this bill won’t work as advertised: it will not cover as many people as promised, and it will run into budget shortfalls, if for no other reason than because Congress is not going to enact the cuts as written–they will get lobbied into repealing many of them. Doug Elmendorf [CBO] has done everything but hire a skywriter to make it clear that he doesn’t think that any of the various bills will actually be deficit neutral–while doing his job, which is to score what’s written, not his best guess at what will happen.
Liberals don’t care, because they think it’s worth it to cover more people. Conservatives care, but their kabuki complaints about what everyone in the wonkosphere knows go mostly unheeded. I find it hard to get too outraged about any of it; I’m against the bill, but I think that this part of the process is playing out about as well as you can expect.
The Right as per the WSJ Editorial:
In a rational political world, this 1,990-page runaway train [Pelosi bill] would have been derailed months ago. With spending and debt already at record peacetime levels, the bill creates a new and probably unrepealable middle-class entitlement that is designed to expand over time. Taxes will need to rise precipitously, even as ObamaCare so dramatically expands government control of health care that eventually all medicine will be rationed via politics.
Yet at this point, Democrats have dumped any pretense of genuine bipartisan “reform” and moved into the realm of pure power politics as they race against the unpopularity of their own agenda. The goal is to ram through whatever income-redistribution scheme they can claim to be “universal coverage.” The result will be destructive on every level—for the health-care system, for the country’s fiscal condition, and ultimately for American freedom and prosperity.
If the Wall Street Journal is supposed to be the rational, intellectual voice of the Republican party, I sure have a lot of hope for Democrats. Because even WSJ is touting conspiracy theories with little basis in reality.
Getting health care to all Americans “creates a new and probably unrepealable middle-class entitlement that is designed to expand over time”? “eventually all medicine will be rationed via politics”? The health care bill has no provision for “expanding entitlement” or “rationing medicine.” These are wild and baseless claims.
When did letting people go see a doctor become an “income-redistribution scheme”? I hope even hard-line Republicans don't believe that the right to see a doctor is something only rich people should have, because that is implicit in the “income redistribution” label.
Universal health care is about just that–making sure anyone who is sick in America can go see a doctor. If people reported on the details of the issue–what the bill says, what possible alternatives are, who and how people will be affected–there would be no controversy.
Megan McArdle makes the only rational conservative arguments–that it would cost too much or not be implemented correctly. But the counterpoint to that is also not touched on: that taking the burden of health care off the backs of employers will probably do more to encourage new hiring and lower unemployment than the stimulus did.
Presenting the health care positions like this is disingenuous, because it makes it sound like the political horse race is what is important and interesting about the issue. This is not true. What is important is what happens to the American people, and that is clear: they will get more, better, and more efficient health care. If we were asked to pay for a bailout that doesn't even help most of us, we should definitely be able to pay for a health care system that helps us all.
Thanks for your comment
Enjoyed the Blunder review on your blog, hope you stick with blogging. The not-so-secret secret about blogging is that bloggers are the main audience for other bloggers.
I can understand why Editorial writers, columnists, politicians and their staffers, cable gladiators and some bloggers take hard-core positions. In a nutshell, there is no incentive for them to compromise or be reasonable.
But to be hard-core in the comments section of a blog [mine] where >75% of the traffic comes from people googling for sex sites with odd search terms?
You wrote that the WSJ noting that the health care legislation will 'create a new and probably unrepealable middle-class entitlement' is an example of a “wild and baseless claim.”
I simply can't conceive of anyone who doesn't believe this debate is in large part about whether we should be establishing a new federal entitlement. Which is different than being able to find people who will deny the entitlement angle for understandable political reasons. It makes the job of passing the legislation that much harder.
Off the top of my head, other than welfare reform, government programs of this magnitude simply do not end. If we can't agree on that to begin with, there really is no point to getting into it.