On the Future of Health Care Reform

I have been thinking about health care reform and what the future holds if, as the Teahadists want, President Obama’s signature achievement is thrown out in the courts in its entirety.

Consider the individual mandate.  Proposed in the mid-90s by Republicans as an alternative to Bill Clinton’s plan, the individual mandate is a profoundly conservative idea — the system of private insurance is left intact, and individuals are personally responsible for their own insurance.

Yet, Republicans today are incensed by the individual mandate.  Never mind that it was their own idea, nor that the individual mandate achieves what they want — a health care system that leaves the individual, not the government, in charge.  They hate the individual mandate with the white-hot fury of a supernova.

What happens to health care reform and the cause of universal coverage if, as Republicans hope, the Affordable Care Act falls in the Supreme Court?

I think, frankly, that it will take a Republican to make universal coverage happen.

The Democratic Party is being demonized and discredited on the issue with every passing day.  Despite passing a conservative Republican plan, the Democrats’ plan is being challenged by its ideological forebears.  Republicans are blasting a plan that promotes personal responsibility as an unconscionable powet grab by the federal government.  In any event, if the law falls the Democratic Party likely won’t be able to trt again at universal coverage for a generation or more. Thus, it will fall to the Grand Old Party to get it done.

But if their own ideas are too far to the left for the Republican Party, where else is there to go?

Either the Republicans say outright that health care is a privilege, not a right, or they go for single payer.

The former has no political upside.

The latter is, ironically, something that the GOP are uniquely prepared to argue from a libertarian standpoint — one cannot live free without having life, and single payer access guarantees life.  Since the Teahadist uprising is a curiously libertarian affair, the libertarian argument for health care reform would be an argument the Republicans would be well-positioned to make.

I don’t know what will happen, truly.  I don’t understand why a single payer system wasn’t considered two years ago.  It’s the solution I favor, honestly.  And if the PPA falls, it’s the only option left if we want to join the standards of the civilized world and guarantee our citizens health care as a right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *