There’s enormous disappointment among progressives about the emerging health care bill — and rightly so. That said, even as it stands it would take a big step toward greater security for Americans and greater social justice; it would also save many lives over the decade ahead. That’s why progressive health policy wonks — the people who have campaigned for health reform for years — are almost all in favor of voting for the thing.
The argument about the evil of the individual mandate is,as Jon Cohn says, all wrong. It was wrong during the primaries, when Obama unfortunately used it to demagogue his rivals — helping set the stage for problems now. And it’s still wrong...
So there’s a lot of bitterness out there. But please, keep your priorities straight.
By all means denounce Obama for his failed bipartisan gestures. By all means criticize the administration. But don’t take it out on the tens of millions of Americans who will have health insurance if this bill passes, but will be out of luck — and, in some cases, dead — if it doesn’t.
Clearly, they've gotten to him. I can just picture the dump-truck full of hundred-dollar bills that must have backed up to his ivy-covered doorstep at Princeton and covered him in that greeny goodness that has obviously already bought off the President, the vast majority (like all but one or two - so far) of the progressive wing of Democrats in the senate, Kevin Drum, Nate Silver, and many others.
Corrupt bastards all. There's no other explanation...unless...
...unless the institution of the mandate is not, in fact the "enslavement" of the American people. I mean, it sounds compelling and all, and certainly gives a righteous ring to the crusade, but is that what it really is? Am I enslaved because I am no longer allowed to freeride on other peoples' insurance premiums? Any more than I am enslaved by having to pay taxes to fund my fair share of government operations?
"But that's not going to evil private corporations!!! It's going to the government!!!"
Are you joking? Really? My tax dollars are not going to fund private corporations, and to pay for other functions I may or may not approve of? What world do you live in? Oh right....
Look. I'm pissed too. I've been railing against this idiot negotiating strategy from the get-go. It's all been horribly botched. But the bill as it is is flawed, maybe deeply so. It is the product of too much compromise and too little principle.
But come on, people -- this bill is a Democratic Congress getting passed a $900 billion social-spending program to benefit poor, sick people. And yes, those people are the primary beneficiaries, no matter how much you want to scream about insurance-executive salaries and shareholder profits. You want to know what percentage of the $900 billion that will take up? About 3%. Lets say I'm wrong - let's say it's 10%. That's $810 billion in government cash for poor, sick people. You really think, from a liberal, democratic perspective, that's not worth doing. You really think Senator Edward Kennedy, one of the greatest, most pragmatic compromisers of all time, would spit at that accomplishment the way you are? I guess we can't know for sure. But I really, really like my side of that bet.
And if I was right, and if he voted Aye, would he be a shill too? How far does it go? I guess we'll find out.