Skip to comments.How Tom Daschle Might Kill Conservatism [Obamacare: make us dependent, then how to shrink gov't?]
Posted on 11/21/2008 4:15:41 PM PST by Mike Fieschko
The GOP strategist had been joking about the upcoming presidential election and giving his humorous assessments of the candidates. Then he suddenly cut out the schtick and got scary serious. "Let me tell you something, if Democrats take the White House and pass a big-government healthcare plan, that's it. Game over. Government will dominate the economy like it does in Europe. Conservatives will spend the rest of their lives trying to turn things around and they will fail."
And it turns out that the fearsome harbinger of free-market doom is the mild-mannered ex-U.S. senator with the little, red glasses, Tom Daschle. He'll be the guy shepherding President Barack Obama's healthcare plan through Congress via his probable role as secretary of health and human services. At the core of Daschle's thinking on the subject is the creation of a "Federal Health Board that would resemble our current Federal Reserve Board" and ensure "harmonization across public programs of health-care protocols, benefits, and transparency." (Forget secretary of state, Hillary Clinton should shoot for chairman of Fed Health and run one seventh of the U.S. economy.) And the subject of that "harmonization" would be a $100 billion to $150 billion a year plan that would let individuals (and small businesses) buy insurance from private companies or from a government plan.
Daschle and the Obamacrats certainly have the momentum: a near-landslide presidential election victory, at least 58 Democratic votes in the Senate, and a nasty recession that will make many Americans yearn for economic security. Already the health insurance companies seem set back on their heels. The industry's trade organization now says it would accept new rules requiring them to cover pre-existing conditions as long as there was a universal mandate for all Americans to have health insurance. On top of all that, Obama clearly wants to make healthcare reform a priority in his first term, as evidenced by the selection of a heavy hitter like Daschle. And even if he wasn't interested, Congress sure is, with Max Baucus and Ted Kennedy readying a plan in the Senate. A few observations:
1) Passage would be a political gamechanger. Recently, I stumbled across this analysis of how nationalized healthcare in Great Britain affected the political environment there. As Norman Markowitz in Political Affairs, a journal of "Marxist thought," puts it: "After the Labor Party established the National Health Service after World War II, supposedly conservative workers and low-income people under religious and other influences who tended to support the Conservatives were much more likely to vote for the Labor Party when health care, social welfare, education and pro-working class policies were enacted by labor-supported governments."
Passing Obamacare would be like performing exactly the opposite function of turning people into investors. Whereas the Investor Class is more conservative than the rest of America, creating the Obamacare Class would pull America to the left. Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute, who first found that wonderful Markowitz quote, puts it succinctly in a recent blog post: "Blocking Obama's health plan is key to the GOP's survival."
2) Shrinking government would get exponentially tougher. Republicans would face the same problem with healthcare that they currently do with Social Security, persuading people to trade one in the hand (the current system) for two in the bush (a reformed system). And we see how well that has worked out. Combine Obamacare with plans to take away the tax-advantaged status of 401(k) plans and IRAs and you would end up with government responsible for both healthcare and retirement. The big-government constituency would grow and deepen. And remember that fewer and fewer people are paying the incomes taxes that would help pay for increased government services. That breakage of the linkage between taxes and government "benefits" creates toxic incentives for more of both -- and an economy more shackled than ever by taxes, debt, and regulation.
3) Republicans better learn to competently talk healthcare. John McCain's healthcare plan was perhaps the most provocative policy proposal of the entire 2008 campaign. Too bad he could neither fully explain how it worked nor persuasively argue why it was better than Barack Obama's plan. Also too bad since his plan would have smartly reduced healthcare costs by getting companies out of the healthcare benefits business and empowering individuals to buy insurance on their own. This would have helped fix what economist Arnold Kling calls the insurance vs. insulation problem: :Insulation relieves the patient of the stress of making decisions about treatment. The patient also does not have to worry about shopping around for the best price. The problem with insulation is that it is not a sustainable form of healthcare finance."
Another interesting healthcare reform option is highlighted by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam in the book Grand New Party. Uncle Sam would require individuals and families to put 15 percent of their income into health savings accounts. If you run out of money before year-end, the government steps in. If you don't, you get the money back or it rolls over into a retirement account. Of course, any conservative alternative would be easier to implement if it doesn't first have to kill an existing nationalized health plan. But thanks to Tom Daschle, that is just what might have to happen.
I agree. If the ‘Rats get socialized medicine passed, the GOP will never have the balls to repeal it and instead will make it bigger and bigger every single year.
Well we have no money. Obama care will cause the recession to be even worse and the Republicans can reverse it. I say, if Obama turns out to be a one-termer despite all the advantages he has, we will have to thank Bush.
He starved the beast and made sure his successor would have a hell of a time enacting anything.
I hate to wish economic ill on this country, but for our long-term survival the Marxist must be stopped.
Constitutionalists will be waiting in the wings, hopefully.
Impeach OSSAMABAMA and launch investigations on campaign fundings,financial crisis,vote frauds(ACORN)
But the size of government at all levels, the unfunded (and unfundable) commitments (SS, Medicare, entitlements) along with the demographic freight train (75M baby bombers retiring)makes these programs a joke. The $$ do not exist under our present structure.
All this means is the hole we dig ourselves will be deeper and the more angry we will be at our politicians.
Once obamacare passes, it is over. Gone, a constitutional republic never to return.
>> Too bad [McCain] could neither fully explain how it worked nor persuasively argue why it was better than Barack Obama’s plan.
Well, he got me to stand up a few times.
Faux-News-Obama Alert: Conservatism is already dead.
I find the discussion fascinating. You will find extensive discussion of the inadequacy of single payer health care. Health care insurers put out a load of information about the inadequacy of single payer systems like Canada. Yet if you speak with people from Canada they love their health care system and they would never want a US type system. Florida is filled with Canadians who think the US system is very poor. Anytime I meet a Canadian I ask them about health care and I have yet to find anyone who would prefer the US system.
I think the issue is even larger when you look at the problems in the automotive industry. In countries like Japan, Korea, Germany and Canada the auto industry is subsidized because the government pays health care premiums for their auto workers from general tax revenues.
I think the time has come to look at something better than the managed care offered by some insurance companies.
When Medicare was passed in 1965, the AMA screamed bloody murder, claiming it would send health costs out of sight. It did.
But where would the Canadians go to get their quality healthcare???
Yes, its obviously time to introduce market incentives back into the process, and take the government ones out.
My mom used to pay for our Dr visits with her checkbook at the reception desk. We need to go back to the future.
If you eliminated insurance coverage and made health care a pay as you go system the medical system would have to take a wicked hit on fees. Imagine the adjustment that the medical and pharmaceutical companies would have to make if they did not have insurance companies able to guarantee their fees.
“Guarantee payments” as in guarantee payments for emergency care for illegals, SSI for non citizens, & medicare payments?
Wise up. Recent US guidelines for denial of care in “emergencies” have been drawn up. Let's see how long before one of those “emergencies” comes along.
I know people who have lived in Florida for twenty years but they hang on to their Canadian residency in order to preserve their health care. I know Floridians who make an annual trip to Canada in order to buy prescription drugs. There has got to be a better way to do health care, especially if it can improve competitiveness,
You are correct. What are they doing in Florida if they love Canadian health care?
There will be rationing with government health care. I read about one country with government health care that deemed anyone over 55 too old for dialysis. I suppose that they had to die!
Also, without doubt, the quality of doctors will decline. My sister is a doctor, and she already wants to retire way early because she is fed up with the government and insurance regulations which take up her time and make her struggle to get paid. In 1982, residents training at Boston’s elite hospitals were already complaining that they would have become lawyers had they known about the excessive regulation of doctors.
Beware socialized medicine.
Canadian publications often survey Canadians in terms of their satisfaction with health care. If you Google the subject and do some reading you might be astounded by how much Canadians prefer their system. On the other hand, you will find all of the stories about Canadians being unhappy with their health care are usually sourced by US publications and based on information that has been provided by US based insurers.
I have several Canadian friends who have explained their Medical shuffle. They travel back to Canada for the expensive stuff, if it’s not life threatening, or requiring high levels of quality/skill. For all the important stuff, they use US sources. That goes for drugs too.
BTW, I'm sure we can get some one-way bus tickets for them to go back and stay back in Canada.
“For all the important stuff, they use US sources. That goes for drugs too.”
That is typical of the misinformation. You suggest they go Canada for the expensive stuff but they use US services for the more important stuff. I would suggest the more important that it is, the more expensive it is. There is an inherent contradiction in your statement.
You are right in this respect: If we were really good at delivering ultra-high quality at a competitive price, there would be no question as to where to go for care. Both systems have their strengths and flaws, and some of our flaws are bloated cost and exclusion of some from the routine care which would prevent the catastrophies for which they present to the ER (and are cared for regardless of ability to pay).
You may be stunned to discover that there are many Canadians married to Americans and vice versa who are in the position of being able to choose which system they want to function under.
The point that I was trying to make is that we don’t listen to Canadians about their opinion of their health care system. The point is they love their system and prefer it far greater to the US system. You may not like their opinion but it is time to start looking at it because it is going to be hyped by the media and by the incoming Congress.
I think you are exactly on target. The US spends far more per capita on health care than any other country. Yet life expectancy in the US trails Canada and all of the other countries with national health care. A key statistic is fatalities among infants and the US does very poorly in comparison with other industrialized countries.
That would (could) work if socialized medicine actually worked..which it doesn’t so it’s not goint kill...!
We need to do better with our infant mortality stats to see which are due to maternal neglect (crack, opiates, alcohol, etc) and lack of concern with access to the system vs poor access to the sytem, incomplete evaluation and delivery of service, and just plain incompetence. How much our attitudes toward addiction and marginalization of addicts contributes to the figures is unknown. Hard statistical nut to crack and thus hard to know where to aim (better services, better access, education for the public and providers)
I had not thought of the neglect factor.
I talked to several the Canadians who came down for joint replacements and heart caths that they had to wait forever for in Canada. To the last person, they seemed to enjoy the U.S. medical system.
But do you not realize how bizarre that situation has become. There are some high demand areas where the Canadian system may allows people to get medical care in the US and they will pay for it. On the other hand, some Americans who might need the same surgery are denied it because they do not have the necessary insurance coverage. Do you not think this is unjust?
What are Daschle’s qualifications for this job?
Obamacare will lead to healthcare mediocrity. We’ll have to travel to Japan to get anything advanced. Welcome to average.
I have never seen anyone denied necessary medical treatment due to an inability to pay. I worked in hospitals for about 15 years. Granted, I have been out of that arena for about 8 years.
Well, he’s a Washington insider and his wife is a lobbyist for Boeing.
I think the key point I am trying to make is the need to prepare for a dramatic shift in talking points. Much of the language on health care has been about how great the US system works in relation to the rest of the world, especially those countries that have single payer systems. Watch for survey after survey to be tabled showing how unhappy Americans are with the US system. On the other hand, watch for the corresponding surveys indicating that people in other countries much prefer their systems to the US system.
My issue is more pragmatic. Every industrial competitor of the US embeds the cost of health care within the general revenues of the government. It is not placed on the marketplace. So, US industry operates at a tremendous disadvantage to its international competitors.
McCain's plan contained some good ideas, but lost out in the campaign to Obama's lying counterattack. Unfortunately, free market solutions in medicine seem too much for the dumbed down Obama electorate to comprehend.
As current doctors resign, they will be replaced by foreign trained doctors. Eventually, as it becomes clear that a career in medicine is less and less desirable, fewer American born students will apply to our medical schools. Ultimately, we will all be able to experience that foreign medical thing that these bureaucratic experts tell us is so superior to the present model.
Se habla Obama?
Some things to check out...
One reason for this is that many of those patients who need very serious treatment die before getting it...seriously. Check out the wait times and death rates while waiting for treatment, and you'll see how high they are...and realize that these are great systems, as long as you aren't too sick.
Talking point(s) I haven't heard much...
Increasing healthcare costs?
If a person wants 1970s care, it's available at a low cost. But today's care costs a lot more, because someone had to develop new techniques and equipment. People often insist on the latest care. If we go to socialized medicine, there's little incentive to get improved methods. "Do you want new advances in health care, or do you want universal stagnant care?"
Many people come to the US for care they can't receive back home. Once the US goes socialist, (a) where will we go for quality care, and (b) where will the rest of the world turn when we aren't there?
The problem is that the data on US life expectancy rates is not nearly as good as it is in other industrial countries. Apparently, an even more important statistic for measuring the quality of health care is infant mortality rates and in this area the US system performs poorly compared to other countries.
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