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When Markups Stop Being Polite and Start Getting Real

Things are getting a bit punchy at the HELP markup. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) says that he's not sure who wrote the Affordable Health Choices Act but that if you put "Rube Goldberg, Karl Marx, and Ira Magaziner in a room," you'd have ended up with something pretty close. A classy, gracious line from the man who was nearly Obama's secretary of commerce.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) shoots back, "Our current system is a combination of Adam Smith, Darth Vader, and the Bodysnatchers. So I like our plan better!"

By Ezra Klein  |  June 17, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
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Needlessly harsh on Adam Smith.

Posted by: bdballard | June 17, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Ok.... who's going to tell Sen. Mikulski that Vader and the Bodysnatchers aren't real?

And given the choice, I would prefer the Smith model of organization versus anything that Marx, Magaziner and Goldberg agreed on.

Posted by: BP84 | June 17, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

This is an interesting vignette, but I fail to understand why Mr. Klein found Senator Gregg's line so offensive. While Mr. Klein appears to disagree with it, it struck me as a coherant and salient attack, arguing that the bill is too complex, too focused on communal rights and government, too critical of capitalism, and too similar to Clinton-era health care plans. What is wrong with a senator voicing this opinion?

Posted by: Dellis2 | June 17, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

This coming from a journalist who has said on more than one occasion that he thinks Nancy Pelosi runs the House like it's the Politburo...and meant it as a compliment! Good one, Ezra.

Posted by: morgen-vs | June 17, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I think Adam Smith would be appalled at our current health care system.

Posted by: SteveCA1 | June 17, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Providing health care is NOT like running a pin factory. Adam Smith's natural selection capitalism model allows for, in fact, encourages providing health care to those who make the most profits for the provider. Big Pharma specializes in diseases of the rich because that is where the money is.

Health care is a right, not a service for the priviledged few. Until we get congresscritters to embrace that, reform is only rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic.

We need single payer, European style healthcare for all, not just some tinkering on the edges of a thoroughly broken system.

Posted by: srw3 | June 17, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Ok.... who's going to tell Sen. Mikulski that Vader and the Bodysnatchers aren't real?

Given how many people are uninsured and that for those who are insured their health insurance sometimes disappears when they really need it, fictional characters seem entirely appropriate.

Posted by: hipparchia | June 17, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

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