OK, who said this and when:
“We are against forcing all citizens, regardless of need, into a compulsory government program.” Arguing that he was against socialized medicine, he said that, “one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children’s children what it once was like in American when men were free.”
And the answer is: Ronald Reagan.
Probably not much of a surprise so far, but he said it in the 60′s talking about Medicare.
We should look at this debate carefully. Many at the time were convinced of the evil of having the government get involved in medicine. Here we are decades later, and Medicare is a popular and successful program. It certainly could be improved – as anything can. But that’s not a condemnation of the idea, any more than Enron or AIG are condemnations of the idea of free enterprise.
We’re in much the same spot today. The right wing is using the same arguments today they used then – which have proven true, and which have proven false?
I’m just a conservative guy. All I know is that in this country, we spend twice as much on healthcare as any other modern country, and we get less for it. Why have so many other countries gotten it so much more right than us? What can we learn from them? Again, being a conservative guy, I don’t like spending more and getting less. I don’t like spinning my wheels when I can learn from the mistakes of the past and learn from what folks are doing well.
Case in point: During the healthcare debate, one of the proposals put forward by the left was to allow folks to “opt in” to Medicare for a fee. Essentially, it put Medicare out there as an insurance program that I could buy into if I wanted to or needed to. Seems pretty logical to me. After all, if the right wing is right, and Medicare is so inefficient and ineffective, then nobody will buy in anyway – private insurers will be far more cost effective and provide far better care. Right?
Then why did the right wing argue against this, and make sure it wasn’t part of the reform? All by itself, this puts the lie to the argument. If they believed what they were saying was true, they would welcome this option. If they knew what they were arguing was untrue, they would fear this option.
They feared the option, and assured that you and I did not have the ability to “buy in” to Medicare, forcing us instead to pay higher prices to private companies, and receive less from these private companies.
It’s clear to me why private companies spend so much to make sure that we don’t have a “public option”. They apparently believe that the public option will provide better care for less money, and that they’ll lose much of their base to this public option. They will no longer be skimming huge profits from the premiums you and I pay.
If I were a major shareholder in one of these companies, I’d spend a lot of money trying to defeat public healthcare – it would be in my selfish interest to do so.
But I’m not a major shareholder in one of these companies. I’m just an American Citizen – part of We The People. My selfish interest is getting the best care possible for the lowest cost. It seems to me that the interest of the big private insurance lobby is at odds with the interest of We The People in this case.