David Frum has a piece up that posits the following:
What would it mean (for Republicans) to “win” the healthcare fight?
.. The problem is that if we do that… we’ll still have the present healthcare system. Meaning that we’ll have (1) flat-lining wages, (2) exploding Medicaid and Medicare costs and thus immense pressure for future tax increases, (3) small businesses and self-employed individuals priced out of the insurance market, and (4) a lot of uninsured or underinsured people imposing costs on hospitals and local governments
There are several problems with this analysis. First, “flat lining wages” don’t have anything to do with the present health care reform debate. Wages are presently flatlined for reasons other than passage of ObamaCare: it’s called deflation.
Second, there is more than just Medicare and Medicaid that is exploding in the federal budget. Stimulus bills, the current budget bill, TARP, GM ,Chysler et al are exploding the federal budget deficit. I defy Mr. Frum to quantify which healthcare components are exploding this year’s budget that will be mitigated by passage of ObamaCare this fiscal year.
Third, small business and the self employed are not “priced out of the insurance market”. Do they pay a lot of money for this insurance? Yes. Are they “priced out”? No. And what does “priced out” even mean? I fall into the small business/ self employed category. Does Frum know something I don’t?
Fourth, Mr. Frum worries that a “lot of uninsured or underinsured people (are) imposing costs on hospitals and local governments.” That’s not exactly news as it relates to the defeat of ObamaCare. If ObamaCare does not pass how many more uninsured and underinsured will impose how much greater costs on hospitals and local government as a result? I know what the proposed ObamaCare tax increases will cost, but what of Mr. Frum’s phantom costs increases? What is that number?
Frum goes on to say that defeat of ObamaCare will have been accomplished by the terrorizing of the elderly and the ultimate winner will have been inertia. Well, in his final point Mr. Frum stumbles upon a real issue when he raises the issue of inertia. What Frum and many of the elite opinion class do not understand about the healthcare debate, and the advancement of change in general, is that inertia can be a good thing. Inertia is the obverse of the Tyranny of the Urgent. Said another way, when everyone is running about demanding change NOW, it is a healthy thing to have others holding up STOP signs and cautioning about moving too fast. That’s what is happening in the healthcare debate today.
Frum complains about “ossified government” and lays bare his desire for any kind of change while voters that know better call for caution. If the loyal opposition is to ever find its way into a majority again it would be wise to ignore the hand wringing of pretenders such as Frum.