Monday, March 22, 2010

Two interesting articles...

The first is from Gordon Macdonald. Here's an excerpt:

1. Any effort that is made to bring health benefits to more people (especially the weak, the poor, the children) is an effort with which I want to identify.

2. Anyone whose argument is based simply on the notion that we cannot afford making medical benefits available to more people does not get my ear. The fact is that our country—we the people—can afford it, even if it means that each of us surrenders a few more bucks that we would have spent on things for ourselves. We just have to conclude that compassion in the face of human need is a greater value than accumulating more stuff.

3. Any initiative that makes it possible for the common person to have the same access to medical science as the rich appear to have is one I want to hear about.

4. And any group that stands up on behalf of our physicians so that they do not have to fear frivolous lawsuits every time they make a diagnosis and propose a treatment is one I want to support.

Read the full article here.

The second is from David Frum. Frum is a level-headed conservative with a realistic perspective on a conservative action plan in a "post-healthcare reform" world. My summary of his advice on what Republicans should do:

1) We need to start thinking now about how to get rid of this [health care reform]surtax -- if necessary by finding other sources of revenue, including carbon taxes.

2) We should quit defending employment-based health care.Yet free-market economists from Milton Friedman onward have identified employer-provided care as the original sin of American health care.

3) We should call for reducing regulation of the policies sold inside the health care exchanges. Republicans should press for more scope for insurers to cut prices if they think they can offer an attractive product that way.

4) The Democratic plan requires businesses with payrolls more than $500,000 to buy health insurance for their workers or face fines of $2,000 per worker. Uninsured employees have now through the exchanges been provided an easy and even subsidized way to buy their own coverage. There is no justification for the small-business fine: Republicans should press for repeal [of this feature].

Even more interesting than the level-headed, reasonable advice from Frum above is this observation:

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.


Read the full article here.

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