Every now and then, I find myself agreeing with socially moderate conservatives.
Instead of pulling a Palin, conservatives should propose real reforms: ending the tax exemption for businesses; medical malpractice reform; an independent body to provide some kind of data on the relative effectiveness of treatments; incentives to reward doctors less for any and all services provided than for health outcomes within clear budgets. Real conservatives should point out that the current proposals are not tough enough on costs – and criticize Obama for that, not for fantasies like a communist takeover or euthanasia program for special needs kids.
Conservatives may have had a defensible position in refusing health care reform in 1993, but in 2009 that becomes indefensible. David Frum summarizes what zhe status quo means:
(1) flat-lining wages, (2) exploding Medicaid and Medicare costs and thus immense pressure for future tax increases, (3) small businesses and self-employed individuals priced out of the insurance market, and (4) a lot of uninsured or underinsured people imposing costs on hospitals and local governments. We’ll have entrenched and perpetuated some of the most irrational features of a hugely costly and under-performing system, at the expense of entrepreneurs and risk-takers, exactly the people the Republican party exists to champion.
I would add that if you have guaranteed emergency room care for the uninsured at public expense, you have already effectively socialized medicine. It makes no sense not to bring these people into the insurance system, and to offer less expensive, long-term preventive health care. To insist that ideology stand in the way of this piece of compassionate common sense is irresponsible.