Matthew Holt

By the numbers, on single payer the Democrats are wussies

Matthew HoltNow before I explain why I say the Democrats are girlie-men, let me say three quick things.

1. I am not a supporter of Medicare-for-all, or Canadian style, single-payer (or anything primarily based on fee-for-service payment) although they are both clearly superior to the American status quo. (I am in favor of real universal insurance, but that’s different and less limited than just single payer).

2. It’s still only 50–50 that we’ll get any reform this year, and what we will get will basically be an expansion of one of the worst-designed government programs—Medicaid—mixed with some very modest regulation of the worst behavior of the private insurance companies. And with the exemptions to the individual mandate and for small business at best we’ll get to around 95% coverage—and that’s not counting the undocumented immigrants, who are about another 3–5% of the population and who will still get care and thus still have to be paid for somehow. And the likely Kennedy/Baucus compromise plan has no sustainable insurance payment structure that I can see.

3. The data is a little murky and all sides kinda cheat with polling data (and bankruptcy data too).

But imagine for a moment that Dick Cheney & George W. Bush had 60 votes in the Senate, a disgraced  opposition, and carte blanche to do what they liked because of a real national crisis (In other words a much better political situation than they faced in 2001 & 2003).

And imagine that there was a policy that their party’s supporters overwhelmingly favored.  Do you think for a moment that they’d be looking for compromise even if what they were doing was egregiously and clearly wrong in both terms of public policy and fairness? For instance, cutting tax rates on dividends to less than half what poor suckers who work for a living have to pay, even though the benefits went largely to millionaires and billionaires. Or even worse eliminating estate taxes, when the benefits went only to millionaires and billionaires.

Actually we don’t have to imagine. We know what Cheney/Bush did. They passed the legislation they wanted, and damn the rest of us. And then did it with way less political clout than Obama has—Bush didn’t even win the election after all in the way most of us understand (err…by getting more votes than the other guy).

Now imagine that there’s a policy that polls show at least 35% and (depending who you believe) perhaps up to 60% of all Americans want, and that the same polls show that a vast majority of Democrats want it. And of course Obama’s political situation is way stronger than the Cheney Administration’s was.

In that situation and if they had a different political philosophy, wouldn’t the Cheney Administration just ram through single payer?

So by the numbers, in not even considering the single payer option (not even Kennedy’s plan comes close), the Democrats are proving themselves to be wussies.

CODA: I changed one letter in one word of this piece so that the humorless crowd in the comments didn’t detract from the real offensive stuff going on here–50 million un and under-insured with no political will to do anything serious about it. But if the comments don’t make sense, my original defense is in there too.

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aboomerVonMorry KormanadamMargalit Gur-Arie Recent comment authors
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aboomer
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aboomer

We elected President Obama to get us universal health care and it has to be now while we have full control. We have to move fast because we may never have this chance again. All we need is the government option right now to get us eventually to the single-payer system, which is the best way to get the payments down to what the country can afford.

Von
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Von
Morry Korman
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Unfortunately we will probably not get a single payer health care system because most of our politicians and powers that be have been bought and paid for with donations, political contributions and lobbyist money by the insurance companies and anyone else that does not want single payer health care.

adam
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adam

If foresee explosive opportunities for gold-plated concierge care. Imagine gleaming private hospitals and clinics, staffed by the very best physicians and bristling with the newest medical technology. Sorry, only the wealthiest will be allowed to enter, because these health care palaces won’t accept government reimbursement. Who will enjoy this platinum card style care? How about high-end professionals, wealthy entrepreneurs, and pretty much anyone else with wads of dough. As for the poor schlubs who currently enjoy access to top quality medical care (ie, most of America), they’ll be consigned to urine-drenched waiting rooms, Dickensian hospitals, and an attention to care… Read more »

Wendell Murray
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Back to the issue of the current politics of healthcare legislation and why any attempt at reform that is beneficial to the ultimate payer – the patient as tax-payer or employee or direct-payer – never goes anywhere, below is a link to an article from the NYTimes.
Apparently President Obama just read the recent essay by Dr. Atul Gawande about medical service spending in McAllin Texas (with comparisons to the delivery “model” and spending patterns at the Mayo Clinic and in Grand Junction Colorado).
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/09/us/politics/09health.html?_r=1&hp

Margalit Gur-Arie
Guest

Matthew, I think you should change it to “weenies” …. and we’re even 🙂

Cindy Throop
Guest

I’m guessing the plural of wuss would be wusses. Or you could just say wimps. That’s not too hard to spell. Does this mean I’m the second woman to comment on this post? Matthew, if I didn’t know you personally, I would think you are the biggest pig. If you use the p-word publicly again, I will likely smack you upside the head next time I see you on behalf of all of the offended women in the world. To avoid confusion, this is how I am defining the term (thank you urban dictionary): smack upside the head – to… Read more »

Matthew Holt
Guest

Meanwhile if you care I highly recomend you see this explanation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qyHS4met7c
If I’d had an English teacher like her….

Matthew Holt
Guest

Pugnacious is right, I’m just too dumb to know the root of the term! But I changed the word anyway…

Pugnacious D
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Pugnacious D

Sigh… so sad to see Matt has missed out on the opportunity to explain away that what he *really* meant for the potentially offensive term “pussy” was that it was being deployed as an abbreviated form of the word “pusillanimous”. Thesaurus FAIL.

Nate
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Nate

your in trouble I just finalized plans for an intense breeding program, utilizing the latest in Octuples IVF and generous social saftey nets I’m pretty sure I can “conceive” 80-100 conservates a year, 18 years from now lets see you counteract that

Matthew Holt
Guest

Nate. I’m just here to counteract your vote! 🙂 Matthew

Nate
Guest
Nate

if youi believe strongly in Democracy then why did you not choose to live in one? We are a Republic, always have been, and if we hope to survive always will be. You might not like it but I would hope you atleast know what one is and when we have an election based upon our republic style of government and one party wins based upon the rules of an election for a republic you don’t snipe and claim the person didn’t really win becuase they loss under the terms of a democratic election. If we where voting in a… Read more »

Merle Bushkin
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“Meaning” is in the eye of the beholder. So if you mean “weak, timid or unmanly,” why not use one or all of these words to make your point? You do yourself and the point you are trying to make an injustice by using words others find offensive or rude. And it doesn’t take innuendo or vulgarity to convey humor.
Isn’t it striking that only one woman has posted comments to this blog — and it was to express outrage at the choice of words? This may be a first!

Matthew Holt
Guest

I am not being offensive to women, cats or anyone other than Democrats Here is the definition from American heritage dictionary puss·y 1 (ps) n. pl. puss·ies 1. Informal A cat. 2. Botany A fuzzy catkin, especially of the pussy willow. 3. Vulgar Slang a. The vulva. b. Sexual intercourse with a woman. 4. Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a woman. 5. Slang A man regarded as weak, timid, or unmanly. I am clearly using this as #5 not #1, 2, 3 or #4. So I am saying that the Democrats are being weak or timid or… Read more »