26 February 2009


From the WSJ:
The day after Mr. Obama formally laid out his policy goals in his first address to Congress, the former chief executive of HCA Inc. unveiled a $20 million campaign to pressure Democrats to enact health-care legislation based on free-market principles.
It's a real shame there aren't more policy wonks in the electorate. "Socialized medicine" is a scandalous term because it has the nasty s-word in it, but all of the most successful programs in American healthcare have been ones that have trended that way. Perhaps the problem is just the PR; Michael Moore certainly hasn't done the movement any favors by trying to compare Cuba favorably to America, even in the most reasonable context. But when you consider that the costs of administration and maintenance of privately-owned healthcare companies run at about 17% usually, and compare that to the 8% cost of the public programs in America, then you really have to wonder how long people can keep voting against their own interests (link to boring stats report for the above numbers).

Of course, maybe that will change. The Democrats have been astonishingly competent lately in selling their case. That might just be the similarly astonishing job the Republicans did, but still. Obama has a huge amount of political capital right now, especially since Republican responses have been getting steadily worse. Rather than rallying to offer their own solutions to problems, the GOP has retreated to their mantra of "tax cuts and free market" in a national atmosphere that is less receptive to such a chant than it has been in decades. Even if they didn't mean it, it would be savvy for the Republicans to at least pretend that they have a new message; as it is, even inattentive voters realize that this is the sutra that got the country in its current mess.

I'm not sure they're paying attention, because lately their plays just keep getting worse. And sometimes funnier.

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