September 18, 2007

Hubris

I fear my free market brethren are getting a little cocky. We know we're gong to get massacred in the next election and that a raft of protectionist-socialists will be installed in Congress, we can see the darkness. Yet, there seems to be a confidence that the US will abjure government takeover of health care. I hope the confidence is well founded but would suggest a strong defense.

Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute dresses down Senator Clinton's "HillaryCare 2.0" (Hat-tip: Everyday Economist)

Here we go again. HillaryCare is back, and itís apparent that Sen. Clinton has learned little since the American people overwhelmingly rejected her last attempt to overhaul the U.S. health care system. Once again her plan, which would cost $110 billion per year in new taxes, calls for greater government control over American health care. If her plan were to pass this time, it would mean higher taxes, lost jobs, less patient choice, and poorer quality health care.

Tanner makes several substantive points -- I am not criticizing his critique. Nor Karl Rove's. Rove has a guest ed in the WSJ today (free link) that enumerates the reasons to avoid Senator Clintonís plan.
In short, the best health reform proposals will be those that recognize and build on the virtues of our market-based medical system. Sick people around the world come here because they can't get quality care in their home countries. Many health-care professionals come here to practice, leaving behind well-meaning health-care systems where government is in charge, bureaucrats make the decisions, and where the patient doesn't have the choice he or she does in the U.S.

HillaryCare may not have changed much, but I fear that the electorate has. Fifteen years of NYTimes editorials, and the drumbeat of "40 million uninsured," "45 million uninsured," "47 million uninsured..." have inculcated a crisis mentality.

Those who want to keep private mechanisms will be labeled deniers and will be forced to defend the status quo. Rove and Tanner lay out good points, but I think that political moderates are about ready to have the government take it over. And it is likely that they'll have politicians in 2009 who will be glad to deliver.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at September 18, 2007 1:29 PM

So tell me then, what does a political pragmatist do when "the art of the possible" leaves him with something completely unacceptable?

Posted by: johngalt at September 18, 2007 7:43 PM

If that is directed this pragmatist's way, you misread me. I am not counseling compromise. I am trying to rally the troops.

I hear an undertone in Rove, Tanner, and even Mayor Giuliani, that once you explain to the people that this is HillaryCare, they will again reject it.

I suggest that it is going to be a tough fight and that -- as usual -- all the emotional appeals and demagoguery will play into the hands of opponents. It will be tough to beat.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2007 8:36 PM | What do you think? [2]