Posted by: Jeff | November 3, 2009

Grayson Was Right

At long last, the Republicans are about to release their “alternative” health care reform plan. Ezra Klein reacts:

“A House Republican health-care bill wouldn’t seek to prevent health-insurance companies from denying sick people insurance,” the first paragraph of the Wall Street Journal’s preview of the latest Republican health-care reform alternative says. “Republicans also wouldn’t prevent insurers from ending policies once an individual becomes seriously ill,” reads the fifth. On the bright side, the Republican bill would allow insurers to base themselves in whichever state has the weakest regulatory standards and then sell policies built around those rules nationwide. If you’ve ever thought that your insurance was too comprehensive, too straightforward, and contained too few loopholes that you didn’t learn about until you feel terribly ill, then this is the plan for you!

This should put the nail in the coffin for the question of whether the Republicans are negotiating in good faith on health care reform.

Look, there are serious and substantive disagreements on this issue, with reasonable and honorable people on both sides. Should we have a public option or shouldn’t we? How should we structure the tax revenue? How much can we afford for reform to add to the debt? Should our long-term goal be a single-payer system like what they have in France, or a market-based approach like what they have in Sweden?

The problem is, all these disagreements are occurring within the Democratic party. The Republicans aren’t participating because at this point they only represent the position of one fourth to one third of the country. And that position – derived from particularly poisonous notions of hyper-individualism and self-pitying class resentments – is very straightforward. When it comes to health care, it should be every man for himself. To put it in Rep. Grayson’s more pugnacious rendering: “Don’t get sick. And if you do, die quickly.”

Can we all please stop pretending the Republican party, in its current incarnation, has something useful to contribute to the health care debate?

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