Andrew Sullivan doesn’t go over the edge…

Posted: September 9, 2009 by datechguy in opinion/news
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…in this article at the London Times concerning the healthcare debate:

Nonetheless, I remain convinced Obama will win this fight. Not totally; not without political cost; but win it he shall. And the strategy is really very simple. The most popular elements of the bill will be kept in and the most contentious left out.

The fundamental issue of costs will be deferred. A bill that prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing illnesses; that creates healthcare exchanges, where people can buy their own insurance policy subsidised by the government; that brings agreed price reductions by the drug companies in return for all these new, previously uninsured clients: this will pass and be popular. How could it not? The option of a government-run insurance plan to compete with private ones will be either dispensed with or held in reserve. If, after a few years, health costs keep soaring and the private companies have not mended their free-spending ways, it could be brought back.

Obama has a solid majority and can achieve all this with Democratic votes alone. So why is he in such trouble? Partly it is that this kind of reform rightly stirs scepticism, and Obama has allowed a hapless and divided Congress to take the lead, muddying the message. Partly it is that the hard right is becoming more and more extreme and its fears have eclipsed the hopes of Obama’s supporters. But the most critical part, in my view, is the public understanding that after two massive bank bailouts and a vast stimulus package, with two still-intractable wars, the US cannot afford even the modest 10-year trilliondollar package Obama is proposing. And Obama’s inability to cut spending while the economy is so fragile means he is constrained from offering fiscal reassurance.

Not a bad bit of analysis on his part Bill Jacobson takes a look at it and says:

Well, yeah, if Obama drops the public plan and mandates he can get some measure of health insurance reform because most people want health insurance reforms without junking the whole system. New national and regional markets for insurance helping create the conditions for individual insurance empowerment. That is a plan that can pass.

It’s called the Republican plan, and it is as available now to Obama as it was six months ago. All Obama has to do is just say yes.

What I find interesting is his use of the word at the start “euthanasia” rather than the word “death panel” in his introduction:

The summer has been crammed with YouTube clips and television news reports featuring the angrier members of the Republican right railing against Barack Obama’s plans to inflict euthanasia on their grandmothers, abort their children and put them in concentration camps.

It is a word used very carefully and in my opinion deliberately. Euthanasia has a specific meaning and people in England know it. If he had used the word “death panels” I suspect he knows that the people of England would recognize and understand what that means. Sarah Capewell sure would.

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