Jun 22, 2009

Paul Krugman to the "Centrist" Dems: This is Not 1993... You're "Way out on Right Field"

Update, 6/24/09
. To those members of Congress who oppose the public option: You are wealthy yet you accept the best health care (public option) funded by taxpayers. Why do you believe the rest of Americans don't deserve this choice? At the very least, you should resign from all your public-funded health care benefits until every American has access to same coverage. Yes, it is that simple!

Nobel laureate Paul Krugman is the best voice for compehensive and reasoned universal health care reform. In his New York Times column he sends a message to those self-named "centrists" that they are (along with a good chunk of the Democractic party) way too conservative. It's an interesting question, why these Dems cave in when the public is so far more progressive on the issue of health care...

...The real risk is that health care reform will be undermined by “centrist” Democratic senators who either prevent the passage of a bill or insist on watering down key elements of reform. I use scare quotes around “centrist,” by the way, because if the center means the position held by most Americans, the self-proclaimed centrists are in fact way out in right field.What the balking Democrats seem most determined to do is to kill the public option, either by eliminating it or by carrying out a bait-and-switch, replacing a true public option with something meaningless. For the record, neither regional health cooperatives nor state-level public plans, both of which have been proposed as alternatives, would have the financial stability and bargaining power needed to bring down health care costs.Whatever may be motivating these Democrats, they don’t seem able to explain their reasons in public...

Krugman seems to nail the issue down. We progressives cannot afford to allow the Dem party to drift closer to the lunatic fringe. Let the Repubs stay there to represent the regressive, the small-minded, the religious fanatics, the bigots, and those who want the government to favor the small socio-economic minorities.

..The question now is whether we will nonetheless fail to get that change, because a handful of Democratic senators are still determined to party like it’s 1993.
And yes, I mean Democratic senators. The Republicans, with a few possible exceptions, have decided to do all they can to make the Obama administration a failure. Their role in the health care debate is purely that of spoilers who keep shouting the old slogans — Government-run health care! Socialism! Europe! — hoping that someone still cares.
The polls suggest that hardly anyone does. Voters, it seems, strongly favor a universal guarantee of coverage, and they mostly accept the idea that higher taxes may be needed to achieve that guarantee. What’s more, they overwhelmingly favor precisely the feature of Democratic plans that Republicans denounce most fiercely as “socialized medicine” — the creation of a public health insurance option that competes with private insurers...

What Paul is saying is that the alleged center is no such a thing. A great majority of Americans want socialized medicine. Those who don't want "some government bureaucrat deciding their treatment" should be reminded that, unless they want to spend their own money on a treatment, then it is the insurance bureaucrat that decides when and when they get treatment.

I think the labels ["socialism" etc] must be dispense with clear arguments and by the truth. It's an American value to have empathy, is it not? It's an American value to contribute into the system according to one's ability [progressive taxation is in the US constitution], and, according to the principles of the American revolution and the ones upon which our system was created: the government of, by, and for the people.

PS>Just for the record. I do have a good health care insurance right now, but I care about those who don't, and about those who are underinsured--namely, 1/3 of the country. I'm also sure that Paul Krugman isn't arguing for his own benefit either...

PS2. According to this recent Reuters' study of 100,000 US households Americans struggle to pay for their health care! We're the only advanced country where an individual or a family can go bankrupt due to medical expenses. Lack of health care leads to more deaths, shorter & more painful lives--let's not forget this. Infant mortality is high(er) too... But, abortion and even contraceptives are worse, we're told by the conservatives...

..Americans are struggling to pay for healthcare in the ongoing economic recession, with a quarter saying they have had trouble in the past 12 months, according to a survey released on Monday. ... 17.4 percent of households reported postponing or delaying healthcare over the past year ... Americans pay more per capita for healthcare than people in any other country, yet have high rates of infant mortality, diabetes, untreated heart disease and other conditions. Americans are often dissatisfied with their access to care ... 40 percent of all households planned to postpone care in the coming three months... [Reuters]

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