Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A rather brutal treatment of someone I greatly admire, but I can see the point

Daren Jonescu has a post at his blog on the notion that the collective American psyche has decided that health care is a right, and that the nation is headed for a single-payer system.

He sure doesn't hold the view that more optimistic conservatives hold regarding the bill recently passed by the House - namely, that, as lame as even this new-and-improved version still is, it points a way forward toward real repeal of the "A"CA.

No, he sees it as a decisive step in the other direction:

The House of Representatives’ Obamacare reform bill accomplishes exactly one significant thing: It makes the pathway to single-payer healthcare in America an official Republican talking point, rather than the exclusively Democratic issue it has hitherto been, at least beyond closed doors. Yes, the cat is out of the bag. The GOP is now, openly, America’s moderate voice for socialism.

He runs us back through the 2012 election cycle, and the emergence of a governor who had actually instituted a statewide version of the "A"CA as the presidential frontrunner on the Pub side. He then fast-forwards to the cycle just concluded (in the minds of everyone but Madame BleachBit, that is) and offers up wince-inducing quotes from Squirrel-Hair that make it plain he doesn't start his thought processes, such as they are, about health care from a free-market premise.

But it's when he gets to what Charles Krauthammer has had to say about it that his plain speaking assumes the impact of a tire iron. Now, when I heard Krauthammer say this, I muttered, "I'm not so sure I'm willing to buy that yet," but Jonescu just lets him have it:

This brings us to Trump’s one-time critic but recent defender Charles Krauthammer, who took to the airwaves within the past twenty-four hours to predict, and not for the first time, that “in less than seven years we’ll be in a single-payer system.”
In brief, his argument is that ObamaCare, though a practical failure, changed public expectations about the nature of healthcare and the role of government in its provision. Though there is a vague pretense of a lament over lost opportunities in his remarks, the core of Krauthammer’s position is a desperate plea to everyone to accept that freedom is no longer the political goal, nor could it ever be again. In other words, he is not merely “facing facts,” but seeking to force everyone to resign himself to the progressive wave.
It’s likely that Republicans are going to suffer at the polls, and as a result of that, if that happens, you’re going to get a sea change in opinion, and there are only two ways to go: to a radically individualist system, where the market rules, or to single-payer. And the country is not going to go back to radically individualist.
Notice that Krauthammer uses the term “single-payer” without any judgmental qualifiers, whereas market-based healthcare — the default position, of course, for healthcare or any other good or service — is described, twice for added emphasis, as “radically individualist.”
Why is a free market “radically individualist”? What is radical about it? Nothing, of course. But radical is a propagandistic catchword — like “extreme” — used to marginalize or stigmatize a political position by deliberately placing it outside the moderate mainstream of reasonable opinion. In other words, Krauthammer is essentially a liberal on healthcare, as he is on guns, but tries to sway conservatives to his liberal positions by pretending sympathy with their concerns, while simultaneously demanding that they accept the death of their “radical” old views.
So one of the deans of the so-called conservative media, or at least the GOP-friendly media, is playing ironic manipulator for socialized medicine. Meanwhile, the GOP establishment’s puppet president is out there in pajama-land boasting of how America’s healthcare will someday be as good as “everybody” else’s — thanks, apparently, to the Republican Party’s new acceptance of the major premise of single-payer systems, namely that the government owns healthcare, which is to say the State owns the private citizen’s body.
Whatever one can say about the new ground it has staked out on this issue, the GOP certainly will not be accused of taking a “radically individualist” stand. On the contrary, under government-run healthcare, the individual barely exists at all, at least not as a self-determining being.
You do have to question the use of that phrase, "radically individualist." Maybe there are little vestiges of the Mondale supporter hidden in the recesses of Krauthammer's ideological core, or maybe it's just a case of his view being colored by a general Beltway-ism.

In any event, this is a case where I really do hope to see the good doctor proven as wrong as wrong can be.


  1. Mr. Quick your articles are always thoughtfully researched. The medical insurance does indeed need examined completely to make it the most feasible in an equitable way. Complex and well worth great effort in it's study and application.
    I do wonder what side of the coin you lay on a candidate in a Presidential campaign whom coordinates with foreign powers during the election? This does seem a fundamental question to a true democracy.

  2. Well, certainly, overt coordination by a presidential campaign with a foreign power would be a bad thing. Has that happened?

  3. That is a good question, no in a clear definition overt I do not believe it has. A campaign utilizing the resources of a foreign power to increase the chance of winning to me clearly has happened. Nothing that new there. I would think an overt act here might include political activity with a foreign power which undermines a democratic process. I think this is an excellent case for the Supreme Court, because clearly otherwise as the times change it falls into greater shades of grey. May we live so long to see.