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The Path to Single-Payer?

March 9, 2010

I had been giving liberals the benefit of the doubt on this one, but when I see this kind of thing from guys like Drum, it makes me seriously question my own assumptions:

The current bill isn’t perfect, but the combination of community rating at the national level with an individual mandate is likely to be the beginning of the end for private health insurance as we know it. Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies will provide access to healthcare for 30 million more Americans. Caps on out-of-pocket expenses will prevent countless medical bankruptcies. The cost containment measures — including, yes, the hated excise tax — may be modest, but they’re the most substantial effort on this front in decades. And most important, this bill, for the first time ever, officially commits the United States to the proposition that every legal resident should have healthcare coverage. That’s a huge change both culturally and politically.

And what are the holdups? The absence of a watered-down public option that would have had a modest impact at best? But look: If we pass the current bill, we’ll have a meaningful public option before the decade is out. If we don’t, we won’t.

Okay, I guess I should have seen that post he linked to earlier, which is from December.  But I can’t get to everything—I’m a simpleton.  I always knew that this is what liberals wanted, but I figured this whole thing was a big compromise so they could get actually get the thing through the legislature.  That, and things like this, which I’ve been reading for months now from Drum’s fellow liberals (yes, I already linked to this today):

The Senate health-care reform bill — which maintains private insurers, private doctors, private hospitals, private medical device companies, private pharmaceutical manufacturers, private nurses, and doesn’t even have anything to say about the insurance that medium and large employers provide — doesn’t “annex” anything, and calling it centralized planning suggests that Steyn doesn’t know what the words “centralized” or “planning” mean.

So, which is it?  Is the health-care bill really the first step off a cliff that leads to a ravine of governmental health care, or is it really a centrist bill that simply seeks to control costs while expanding health insurance to those who don’t have it?  I still oppose the bill because I think it’s a budgetary disaster, fails to do anything about cost inflation, and is just too big, but in case you thought I need another reason, this might just be it.

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