Why the Health Care Debate Is So Explosive

An opponent of Democratic health-care reform proposals debates Rep. Adam Schiff (D - Calif.) during a town hall meeting on Aug. 11 in Alhambra, Calif. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Guest blogger James A. Morone is author with David Blumenthal of "The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office," which was published by University of California Press in June. Morone, professor and chair of political science at Brown University, peers into the history of health care reform to offer some forward-looking advice.

When Harry Truman first proposed national health insurance, Senate minority leader Robert Taft (R-Ohio) promptly tagged it "the most socialistic measure that this Congress has ever had before it." Shouting socialism in the middle of the red scare detonated a serious charge. Democratic James Murray responded by screaming back at his colleague: "You have so much gall and so much nerve... If you don't shut up I'll have...you thrown out."

Every time the issue comes up (and it has come up often - 1946, 1949, 1962, 1964-5, 1974, 1979, 1991-4 and 2009), the rhetoric runs long, loud, and hysterical. Why so hot? Because big health reforms always plays out on three different levels - every one one of them a killer.

First, the debates rest on honest philosophical differences: Basic rights versus market competition, communal good versus private responsibility, government provision versus private insurance. Here is a rare policy area where one side flatly excoriates markets and proscribes government while the other blasts government and touts markets. Health care has become a badge of shame for liberals ("we're the only nation without national health insurance") and a point of pride for conservatives ("we're the only nation without national health insurance!").

Second, national health insurance debates provoke intense symbols about the state of the nation - barely tethered to the specific proposals at hand: The triumph of socialism, the death of free enterprise, the iron rule of the bureaucrats or the cool murder of innocents. "If this program passes," warned Ronald Reagan about Medicare in 1963, "one of these days we will tell our children and our children's children what it was like in America when men were free."

The death panels are just the latest in a long line of monsters that seems to speak to a generation's anxieties - not just for health care but for the nation itself. Democrats always - always, every single time - get taken by surprise. Their full page newspaper ads during the Truman years were, to say the least, defensive: "The President's Plan is NOT socialized medicine." But the fears are real and can be answered - not by dismissal or denials or disdain - but by hopes and dreams that go as deep as people's anxieties.

Finally, as if all that were not enough, the battle for health reform invariably becomes a battle for political control. Harry Truman's famous come-from-behind 1948 election victory prominently featured national health insurance. The first square-off during the 1960 election campaign saw the candidates, Vice President Richard Nixon and Sen. John F. Kennedy, furiously working the Senate for their competing health plans.

The boomerang from the Clinton health care reform failure led, three months later, to the widest Republican midterm sweep in the 20th century (victories in the Senate, House, state legislatures, and governor's offices in November, 1994). And as Sen. Jim DeMint has so helpfully pointed out, we stand once again at Waterloo. If the Republicans blunt the Obama plan, they seriously injure the administration; if Obama wins a significant reform - managing what FDR, Truman, JFK, Nixon, Carter and Clinton could not - he becomes larger than life.

On this last political score, the Clinton episode offers a political lesson that the Democrats seem to have completely missed. Many Democrats are moving to whittle back health reform in order to win over moderate, fence-sitting, frightened independents.

Big mistake.

Go back and look at the midterm tsunami that swept the Democrats out of office the last time. The turnout for that wave was just 36 percent. Moderate, fence sitting independents don't vote in midterm elections with a 36 percent turn out.

What really happened back in 1994? The Republican base - jubilant, mobilized, and angry - turned out. The Democratic base - dispirited, disenchanted, and demobilized - stayed home. As Democrats ponder which way to go in this latest round they ought to read the political lessons more carefully: Short term electoral success rests with the base, the people who got excited about "change we can believe in." Long term electoral success rests in designing and pushing through a program that then grows very popular.

In fact, Medicare passed with only 10 Republican votes in the House and quickly grew extremely popular; Democrats began warning voters about the nefarious Republican plans to scuttle Medicare so often that a new word slipped into the American political lexicon: Medagogue, verb, to demagogue the health care issue. Somehow, the Republicans have managed to steal the Democrats signature move.

So keep those seatbelts fastened, there's lots more turbulence ahead. It is such a political circus because it has three rings - and every one of them matters: A great debate about the nature of health care policy. Lots of anxieties about the state of the nation. And a possibly decisive battle for control of Washington, DC. It may not be pretty. But it is the way we've been doing health policy since Harry Truman first tried it in 1946.

-- James A. Morone

By Steven E. Levingston |  August 26, 2009; 5:30 AM ET Steven Levingston
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Who knew that discussing health care could be like discussing religion?..However there even be a deeper level to this discussion that lies at the heart of the human condition..we look at prior times and state they were the good old days so why change "prior times"..look at car manufacturing and the steel industry..we wanted to believe everything was ok and why should we change..health care is going through that same struggle..who really wants to change?

Posted by: notmd | August 26, 2009 1:06 PM

The largest question is how Republicans can now be saying they will save Medicare when Medicare is a large government (socialist) program. Either they are hypocrits or they are lying. Either way they need to explain why single payer is worse than the current Medicare system. I think they have simply caught themselves up in their own lies, as the immature are likely to do.

Posted by: Fate1 | August 26, 2009 1:30 PM

In this country, no one should go bankrupt because they get sick.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | August 26, 2009 2:09 PM

Two (2) Words:
Robin Hood

Posted by: newbeeboy | August 26, 2009 2:47 PM

The reason that health insurance reform never goes anywhere is because 97 % of the American people to some degree are going to be worse off if the bill passes. There are 303 million people in the country 44 million do not have insurance. 44 - 12 (illegal) - 22(people who do not want insurance) = 10 million. The 10 million people represent only 3.3 % of the population. Whenever the numbers are 97% vs 3% any bill is going to have a tough time.

Posted by: bobh3 | August 26, 2009 3:07 PM

I am shore that the fact that the heath care companies are second to no one in funding the Washington Lobby Groups has nothing to do with any of this.
The people in the heath care system have no problem to throw dieing and hurt people out into the streets of America when the insurance runs out.
So what makes any of you think they would all of a sudden care about anyone else but themselfs now ?

Posted by: nicklan | August 26, 2009 3:20 PM

I believe that the current debate misses the point.

Too often, issues are presented as "either/or", "black/white". I do not believe this is the case in health care.

Remember, employer-funded health care worked very well for many years. The problem with it now is that health care costs ran away, well above inflation. I believe this was caused by three factors:

- greatly increased malpractice insurance due to increased liability lawsuits.

- Emphasis on higher cost medical specialists rather than family doctors

- too much purchasing of very high cost, advanced medical diagnostic equipment, which had to be paid for somehow.

This is not a question of public vs. private, I believe. If these 3 issues could be resolved and medical costs brought back to reality, then employer-funded health insurance would work again.

Thank you

Posted by: tspafford | August 26, 2009 3:31 PM

The Dems ought to be out there talking about the horror stories. People who pay for years for their insurance coverage only to have it rescinded when they file a big claim.

Why no talk about the big surcharges (aka insurance company profits) built into the system? The CEO of my insurer gets $25 million in salary. They spend millions of our premium dollars on lobbying. They spend millions trying to find ways to deny coverage. I figure I spend at least an extra $1,000 per year for this.

Every person who has insurance now is hanging on the edge and can lose it at any time. They just don't realize it. One big claim and they're on the road to bankruptcy or worse.

Another point that they're not talking about, but ought to be: premiums are going up 10 to 15 percent each year, yet salary increases are about 1 to 2 percent, if you're lucky. How long do you think we can keep this up? How happy will you be when the only insurance you can afford comes with a $50,000 deductible and a 50 percent co-pay?

Without health reform, and soon, we are going to be going over the edge of the cliff with our current health system, even those of us with great insurance. Why are we letting insurance company pawns misclassify the debate?

Posted by: chi-town | August 26, 2009 3:43 PM

Will it be socialism when the government responds to Swine Flu? Is it socialism when the government responds to hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes? These are facetious arguments. This is a poll war to extend the legitimate election of Barack Obama as president of the United States of America. The real failure is the Democrats lack of nerve. The Republicans are not going to compromise on this issue or any other of substance. Democrats were elected to govern and to change the lies and nonsense of the last 8 years. We are waiting.

Posted by: buddecj | August 26, 2009 4:10 PM

Why can't a solution be created that brings the country together? Yes, I'm a "Blue Dog" and believe in fiscal responsibility, as does the majority of voters in the middle, from both parties and independents. The challenge of our democracy is to have our representatives govern from the middle. A pox on the extremists of both parties. As usual, special interest groups have all of the influence.

Posted by: jimoglethorpe | August 26, 2009 4:13 PM

Why should we question this debate? Have you heard 4,000 stimulus checks sent to inmates after thousands of checks were sent to dead people? Should we trust our government to get the health care problem right? Millions, trillions going down the drain and this administration say's they know what's best for us? Can you blame americans for throwing up their arms and want to make their own mistakes. Cash for clunkers, tax payer dollars....now they want a new program...cash for refrigerators, hey america, whose running those printing presses. Are you sure you want the government in your life. Blame Bush for this...you liberals will definately find a way.

Posted by: MOMLEE | August 26, 2009 4:20 PM

My question still has not been answered.
Will congress and all government workers have the same public option plan that they want me to have.

Are they willing to way months, weeks, or long hours to get the medical treatment they now receive.

I do not think so.

Not one representative or senator has answered that question.

Forget illegals, young healthy people and those who are not responsible. How many do we really have uninsured?

Thank you

Posted by: georgegashun | August 26, 2009 4:28 PM

I had hoped that health care reform would reform health care as an industry, not just play with difference and creative ways to pay for health care.

Health care as an industry has 5 main parts to it that I can think of off the top of my head that should all be reviewed before pumping more money into a hugh, (and getting bigger) system:
1. Educational costs and expected salaries of medical professionals.
2. Medical drug processes and regulations and how this effects end user costs.
3. Insurance company programs, costs and features.
4. Big building hospitals: is there a more cost effective way to provide a place for health care? More specialisation? Do I need to go to Ford for an oil change?
5. Prevention.

Dr. Robin Cook, (yes the author), has had a keen eye on powerful entities that control to some extent medical treatment availability and costs, and CAUSES of health care issues. Is there anyone like him advising Obama? Is he available?

Posted by: informmeus | August 26, 2009 4:34 PM

Why can't a solution be created that brings the country together? Yes, I'm a "Blue Dog" and believe in fiscal responsibility, as does the majority of voters in the middle, from both parties and independents. The challenge of our democracy is to have our representatives govern from the middle. A pox on the extremists of both parties. As usual, special interest groups have all of the influence.

Posted by: jimoglethorpe

Here, here! Well put.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | August 26, 2009 5:00 PM

Let me tell you how this bill work. THE TRUTH

Each month you will see a new entry on the deductible column of your SS, retirement and work check. It is called "Health Care Tax." It is just a tax. If you want health insurance you will have to pay a premium or be fined. The medicare mess will not change, and if you keep you current insurance you will just pay the extra tax--150-200.

Congress, illegals and unions are exempt from "Health Care Tax" So if you work with an illegal they will get extra take home pay because of no health care tax.

Ask you congressmen why the exemptions if they feel the bill is great...Then you will see the truth all else lies.

Posted by: billisnice | August 26, 2009 5:06 PM

"The reason that health insurance reform never goes anywhere is because 97 % of the American people to some degree are going to be worse off if the bill passes. There are 303 million people in the country 44 million do not have insurance. 44 - 12 (illegal) - 22(people who do not want insurance) = 10 million. The 10 million people represent only 3.3 % of the population."

True. Especially when you use false numbers generated by health insurance industry owned/funded "think tanks," as you do here.

Why not follow "the One's" (Gov. Palin's)suggestion and "stop making things up?"

Posted by: rogied25 | August 26, 2009 5:16 PM

billisnice: "Each month you will see a new entry on the deductible column of your SS, retirement and work check. It is called "Health Care Tax." It is just a tax."

There should be a tax! A little forced charity for the lazy christians and some responsibility versus giving the bill to a later generation would be a good thing for the country.

The single reason I voted for Obama over McCain is because he vowed to lower taxes less (and by less, meaning overall the IRS collects more money) than McCain did. The last three presidential elections have been tax-reduction competitions and everyone seems just so shocked about the deficit.

Posted by: prokaryote | August 26, 2009 5:29 PM

Health care reform, health care for all in this country is just as possible, responsible and necessary as it is in Germany, France, England, Canada, Denmark,
Sweden, the Netherlands and Japan - All leading economically strong CIVILIZED WESTERN NATIONS.
Republicans lost the last election, BIG TIME. They cannot let Barack Obama succeed at anything - 2010 elections are coming. If the Democrats succeed - again, they spend the next 12 years in government Siberia.
Republicans have been reduced to the Party of NO! No constructive ideas.
Ken Humphrey, Emerald Isle, NC

Posted by: Iconoclast1 | August 26, 2009 5:30 PM

Look around and you’ll see the burden that the high cost of medical insurance is having to those around you? A Kaiser Family Foundation states that the average employer-sponsored medical insurance cost have risen 119% since 1990 and average $12,360 per policy. At that rate they could double to $24,720 in 7-8 years. A study by the American Journal of Medicine says, that the leading cost for family bankruptcies are for medical cost. I trust the insurance industry about as much as I do the oil industry, none at all. They care about their bottom line and nothing else.

Posted by: egghd1697 | August 26, 2009 5:56 PM

The health care debate is so explosive because it's now obvious to every thinking American that Obamacare is just another power grab to enslave us with socialism/Marxism.

Obamacare (as “public option,” “co-op,” or whatever names they use to manipulate us) has NOTHING to do with improving our health care system. It's just another power grab that would further destroy our health care, destroy our economy, steal money from our children and grandchildren, multiply our deficit, and enslave us through lies, manipulation, intimidation and coercion.

Imitating Hugo Chavez, Obama wants to nationalize everything, including our health care system! "Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama!" Chavez cheered on Venezuelan TV. He added that he and Cuba's Fidel Castro would now have to work harder just to keep up.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 26, 2009 5:57 PM

Now that Obama has seen what the Republicans are willing to say (lies, distortions) and do (angry mobs) to block any changes, he should simply say, "I tried to be reasonable" and now it's time to play hardball. It was a nice try at bipartisanship, many voices were heard but, enough is enough. Elections mean something.

Start cracking the whip! Do it for Teddy!

Posted by: thebobbob | August 26, 2009 5:58 PM

It would be much cheaper and effective to buy one-way tickets to Cuba or North Korea for all those who want socialized medicine and a socialist/communist country! They can take their comrades Obama and Pelosi with them. They have no right to transform the U.S. into another failed socialist country like Cuba just because they are dumbed down, as per Pravda: http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 26, 2009 5:59 PM

Thank you, thebobbob, for demonstrating that Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov was right when he warned us that our enemies were working hard at brainwashing us (dumbing us down) and would succeed if we did not defend our principles: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k6KUDv1wzraWhwlBt1 Please share this video with others. It explains what’s going on.

The dumbed down are obviously unable to understand that Obamacare will further contribute to "the American descent into Marxism, " which "is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple…" http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

Fortunately, as we can see in the town halls, most Americans have NOT been dumbed down and they will do whatever necessary to defend themselves, their children and grandchildren from the abomination of Obamacare.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 26, 2009 6:03 PM

Antonio, please tell us why an American citizen should be forming an opinion based on reading the tea leaves of speeches by Fidel Castro? Are you for real? Do you see our politics only through the prism of other countries' histories? Is that why you are so gullible and spew lies? Seriously, why should I give any credence to your fantastical ranting? President Obama is a Moderate Democrat, arguably to the right of Nixon. You, by contrast, appear to be a loon.

Posted by: benjaminanderson | August 26, 2009 6:10 PM

Fate1, regarding Medicare, many of our seniors rely on Medicare. We can’t take it away from them. We MUST, however, fight Medicare fraud and introduce FREE-market angles to make it more effective and less costly.

Instead of Medicare, a program relying on FREE enterprise should have been created. We would then not have the incredible FRAUD and corruption that drives the costs of Medicare and threatens the whole system.

Expanding the fraud and corruption of Medicare into Obamacare would be suicidal. Additionally, it’s obvious that Obamacare would take resources and services away from our seniors and give them to the uninsured, most of them illegals.

Seniors have valid reasons to be terrified. They know OBAMA LIES. In communist doublespeak, Obama may call his death panels, "life panels," but that does not change the fact that, as per the House bill http://www.jeffhead.com/HC-HouseII.pdf (pages 425-430), we would be asked to receive end-of-life (death) counseling when we turn 65.

Lies do not change Obama's pro-abortion and pro-infanticide (late-term abortion) stand, nor the aberrant eugenic stands of Obama's Health Care Czar Ezekiel Emanuel and Science Czar John Holdren.

Obama’s Health Care Czar Ezekiel Emanuel, rightfully called “Doctor Death,” would make Dr. Kervorkian proud. Dr. Emanuel has said that “Medical care should not be given to those who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens.” As per Dr. Emanuel, your mother suffering from Alzheimer’s or your child diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome SHOULD NOT receive medical care. http://freedomedium.com/2009/07/barack-obama-appoints-doctor-death-as-health-care-czar/

And Obama’s "Science Czar" John Holdren has called for population-control policies such as forced abortions, mass sterilizations, and mandatory population controls. http://www.prisonplanet.com/john-holdren-obamas-science-czar-forced-abortions-and-mass-sterilization-needed-to-save-the-planet.html

Fortunately, as we can see in the town halls, most Americans who have NOT been dumbed down DO NOT WANT to put the power of life and death in Obama’s ACORN-type bureaucracy. They will do whatever necessary to defend themselves, their children and grandchildren from the abomination of Obamacare.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 26, 2009 6:12 PM

Antonio, you copy and paste the same phrases and citations every day. Yet we continue to ignore your raving as the words of a lunatic. Why do you suppose that is? Do you think we are in on the conspiracy? Or is it possible we have correctly classified you as mentally imbalanced? And, please, don't try your "you're too dumb to understand" libel either; I am perfectly capable of making the reasoned judgment that you are living in a fantasy land. Citing Pravda? Are you a Larouchie-flavored nut?

Posted by: benjaminanderson | August 26, 2009 6:14 PM

benjaminanderson, when Obama was running for President, those of us who have suffered because of Castro, Chavez, and the rest of the Marxist thugs who are destroying Latin America recognized Obama's kinship with them.

Obama's campaign strategy -- based on lies, manipulation, intimidation and fraud, with overwhelming support from a corrupt media -- was almost identical to the strategies of the Marxist thugs.

However, many of us believed Americans were too smart to be fooled as the most ignorant Venezuelans, Bolivians, Ecuadorians had been fooled.

We were wrong. Many Americans had been dumbed down to the point that they were fooled with fairy tale promises of CHANGE to help to poor, to end corruption… to make everything better.

And now we see that Obama has surrounded himself with communist czars, including Green Czar Van Jones and FCC Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd. Lloyd, who has openly stated his admiration for Hugo Chavez, seems to believe that his job is to help Obama impose Chavez’s socialism of the XXI century (Marxism) in the U.S.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 26, 2009 6:24 PM

Well, Antonio, you crackpot demagogue, I can assure you that the majority of the American people will also do "whatever necessary [sic]" to make sure the laws of this nation are enforced under our Consitutional democracy. Careful about playing with fire, pal, lest you be the one burned. "ACORN-type bureaucracy" is what exactly? Communist this, communist that, blah blah blah. You got precisely nuthin'.

Posted by: benjaminanderson | August 26, 2009 6:25 PM

So in other words, I should care what you say because you have some moral PTSD from having lived in some places without a secure foundation in the rule of law. Therefore you come here and start screaming that people should overthrow the government to prevent Communism. See the problem? That ain't how we do it here. We had this election, see, and President Barack Obama won. Now he gets to try to pass bills for four years. Then he gets another four years or someone else takes over. The anaemic public option under discussion has no relationship with Communism at all, and your feeling that you've seen it all before counts for nothing. Sorry you had some crappy experiences, but they are not operative here. To think that any proposed legislation in the USA would include pulling the plug on granny only shows that you have no knowledge whatsoever of actual Americans. Are you even an American citizen?

PS. The communists overthrew the last Czar of Russia, so your idiotic insistence that the word "czar" (basic American shorthand for key responsible person) indicates some sinister Red Conspiracy is both laughable and misguided.

Posted by: benjaminanderson | August 26, 2009 6:37 PM

Thank you for your insults, benjaminanderson! I love your insults, as well as the insults of all of Obama's accomplices or dumbed down lemmings. They help demonstrate that Obamacare is part of the Orwellian future that Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov warned us about.

As Bezmenov predicted, our enemies have dumbed down many Americans like you through a policized and substandard education and a corrupt media. Listen to Bezmenov. He's talking about you: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k6KUDv1wzraWhwlBt1

The Russians are also talking about you: http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

Please keep up your insults. I love them.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 26, 2009 6:41 PM

And, for the record, yes, Castro sucks and Chavez is a buffoon. Here's the problem with a lot of you right wing refugee goons though: you don't understand this country and why we don't have revolutions. See, in this country we don't let landless peasants die of starvation or treatable diseases. We don't massacre workers demanding collective bargaining. We don't throw up our hands and accept that even though everything sucks, we are powerless to do anything about it. We don't stymie legitimate grievances by using a military caste to prop up corrupt and murderous oligarchs who care only for their own wealth and power. We have a democracy. Your belief is that addressing inequalities of access to the American Dream leads to Communism. I would argue the opposite, that by addressing the reasonable demands of the American people to have a measure of financial security, we make a turn to truly radical politics unlikely. You are trapped in a false dichotomy that may make sense for your own country, but makes no sense here.

Posted by: benjaminanderson | August 26, 2009 7:01 PM

And, dude, I'm a senior manager and certified accounting manager for a Fortune 500 company. I labor daily in the trenches of our free market system, on which I depend for my daily bread and healthcare. Construct whatever strawman you like, but I'm neither dumb, unaware nor anti-capitalist. You might want to reconsider your attitude towards insulting people yourself being as you come on these boards day after day insisting that everyone who supports our President is a communist, uneducated, blah blah blah. I'll choose a more polite means of interacting with you when you join the civilized world. By the way, I'm still waiting for your answer on whether you are American citizen.

Posted by: benjaminanderson | August 26, 2009 7:15 PM

Very insightful, James, by framing the debate as a power grab with both big prizes to be won by winners and big losses to losers. That is the inevitable problem of this debate and it will never be completely and rationally thought through and debated because of the political implications. To both sides, health care is like a battleground instead of a public interest and strategic issue. But the ultimate loser at the end is really all of us and the country.

Posted by: chlai88 | August 26, 2009 7:29 PM

Regarding Obama's communist czars, I'm calling them "communist" because they are DECLARED communists. Green Czar Van Jones, for example, who was in jail for subversive activities against the U.S., admits to having been "radicalized in jail."

And while we are all debating about health care bills, Obama has appointed a new communist Czar, a Hugo Chavez admirer -- Mark Lloyd as FCC Diversity Czar. Why should this matter to any of us?

“Because this is an attack on Free Speech. While it would never be tolerated here to have the Chavez style attack on Free Speech, more straightforward ways of attacking Free Speech are implemented. Hugo Chavez closed 34 Venezuelan radio stations for being conservative and against his policies, etc. He just did it. Well, here in America the new way to shut off freedoms is through fines and taxes, tweaking the rules that hug the gray line.”

What do Obama’s communist czars have to do with Obamacare? The appointment of these czars, who are U.S. enemies, demonstrates that Obama is a communist/Marxist who seeks to harm the U.S. This was to be expected as Obama’s parents, relatives, mentors and friends are Marxists who hate the U.S.

Obamacare is another power grab to impose Marxism and destroy the U.S.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 26, 2009 7:32 PM

Antonio Sosa wrote: "Green Czar Van Jones, for example, who was in jail for subversive activities against the U.S., admits to having been "radicalized in jail.""

But Jones himself said: "W]e are entering an era during which our very survival will demand invention and innovation on a scale never before seen in the history of human civilization. Only the business community has the requisite skills, experience, and capital to meet that need. On that score, neither government nor the nonprofit and voluntary sectors can compete, not even remotely."

Sounds like a commie to me!

Posted by: news5 | August 26, 2009 7:46 PM

chlai88, I would agree with you if we did not have U.S. enemies in power. Thinking people are offering countless REAL solutions to our health care problems, but Obamacare includes NO REAL solutions. It's just a scam to control our health care system.

There are countless FREE MARKET steps, however, that we could take to REALLY improve and expand health care without multiplying our deficit and destroying our country, among them:

1. Fight Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

2. Implement tort reform to end frivolous lawsuits.

3. Allow cross-state buying of insurance without state-mandated coverage.

4. Leave education, credentialing and scope-of-practice decisions entirely to the private sector and the courts. Thousands of foreign-trained doctors who are now U.S. citizens can’t work in the medical field because of skewed licensing regulations. http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=17116

Most of the problems we face have been created by government regulations (and the corruption and GREED that those regulations foster). Increasing government regulations will only aggravate our problems while destroying our freedoms and our country.

To solve our healthcare problems, we need to go in the OPPOSITE direction in which Obama wants to take us. We need FREE MARKET solutions, more competition, and LESS government control.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 26, 2009 7:58 PM

The Republicans have had numerous opportunities to thwart big government. They did not need to go to war in Afghanistan or Iraq, they could not have gone along with the creation of Homeland Secuirty and the Bush illegal spying on American's. They approved of all the above.

Now, they lose the election and a blackman sits in the Oval Office and all of a sudden they are aganist big government.

Republicans need to get a life.

Posted by: Maddogg | August 26, 2009 7:59 PM

The issue is that Obama has shown who and what he is and what he stands for, and now we have a real clear sense of what his administration is REALLY up to. The "hidden" agenda is out in the open, and it's completely against the grain of Middle America. We American are not socialists. We are for individual freedom and liberty. Middle America embraces these values and Obama, and his healthcare plan, do not. We can fix what's wrong with our Healthcare without destroying our present system. But Obama and the Democrats want no part of that because they don't really like America the way it is, and they want to fundamentally change it. Obama isn't proud of America, apologizes for America, and frankly doesn't really understand what America is all about. But Americans in the Heartland certainly do. And we say NO to his socialistic America agenda.

Posted by: JGates1 | August 26, 2009 8:03 PM

Q - What you say about free market health insurance?

A - They are excellent at not providing coverage to millions and driving millions more into bankruptcy. They deserve a medal pinned on the u know what!

I wonder if the health insurance companies can be found criminally liable for the thousands that die each year because they lack health insurance?

Posted by: Maddogg | August 26, 2009 8:04 PM

Q - What is the problem with the free market health insurance?

A - Many nations have tried it and have failed.

If Republicans think they have an answer just look at the mess in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted by: Maddogg | August 26, 2009 8:07 PM

Q - When should of the Republicans stood up for liberty and freedom?

A - When they created Homeland Security and approved of the illegal Bush spying. Since they did not, we know with certainty that their play with health care is just politics...and total disregard for the well being of millions of their fellow citizens.

Posted by: Maddogg | August 26, 2009 8:25 PM

Q - Should we destroy the present health insurance system?

A - We could just let it continue to destroy our fellow Americans.

Posted by: Maddogg | August 26, 2009 8:29 PM

Q - What happened when Phil Gramm and his buddies got rid of the Glass-Steagall Act?

A - We all came down with a mental recession after the collapse of the financial markets last year.

Even Alan Greenspan now agrees the free market requires heavy regulation if it is to function correctly.

Posted by: Maddogg | August 26, 2009 8:36 PM

Q - Is our present health care system any good?

A - If the Republicans say it is, then they are lying for political advantage.

Our system ranks 37th in the world, just above Cuba's.

Posted by: Maddogg | August 26, 2009 8:45 PM

Where's canada on the list? Since their system is so great?

Posted by: SamBezos | August 26, 2009 9:25 PM


Just in case you were having trouble finding it. Yay!! Let's kill an entire industry of middle men to get to a single payer system so that we can move up...7 spots?

Posted by: SamBezos | August 26, 2009 9:29 PM

Wait. When was that study even conducted? 10 years ago? Sounds cutting edge, very pertinent.

Posted by: SamBezos | August 26, 2009 9:31 PM

Public or private, it doesn't matter. Seriously. Public insurance pays for unecessary tests just as well as private ones do. As long as doctors (not insurance companies) have an incentive to overutilize and bill for the overutilization, health care costs aren't going down.

There are so many conflict of interest laws out there for so many industires, and yet doctors seem to have skirted those in a big way and are allowed to have ownership in facilites that conduct the tests that they, the doctors themselves, prescribe. They are paid per procedure, completely independant of outcome. This type of compensation system BEGS to be abused.

Why doesn't this happen at the Mayo clinics?

wikipedia is my friend tonight...


Posted by: SamBezos | August 26, 2009 10:05 PM

SamBezos, you are NOT supposed to use Wikipedia as a serious reference source! Wikipedia is written and edited by its users. The founder of Wikipedia has admitted some of its entries are 'a horrific embarrassment'. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2005/oct/24/comment.newmedia

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 27, 2009 1:20 AM

SamBezos, regarding WHO, the World Health Organization, please keep in mind that WHO is part of the UN, a totally corrupt and anti-US organization. WHO’s statistics can be trusted as much as UN statistics can be trusted – not much. Lying thugs like Fidel Castro, for example, send propaganda WHO and WHO records that propaganda as statistics.

Additionally, WHO uses its own politicized parameters to rank health care systems.

In spite of WHO’s “statistics,” we know for a fact that the health care systems in Canada and the U.K., for example, are a failure.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 27, 2009 1:22 AM

Regarding Canada's health care, thousands of Canadians come to the U.S. for effective and timely health care and Canadian Medical Association Dr. Anne Doig says her country's health-care system is "sick" and "imploding."

Regarding the U.K., European parliament member Daniel Hannan, who represents South East England at the European parliament, has trouble believing that we would want to replace our health care system with the U.K.’s. According to Hannan, our system is much superior to the U.K.’s and REAL statistics support his view.

Hannan says, “How amazing to me that a free people, you know, citizens of a country founded on the principle of independence, independence for the citizen as well as independence for the state, should be contemplating, in peacetime, burdening themselves with a system like this, which puts the power of life and death in a state bureaucracy.” http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,539273,00.html

Listen to Hannan: http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?t=204359

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 27, 2009 1:25 AM

This is really a simple matter of doing the "right thing".It is inhumane to let one's fellow Americans suffer because they have lost their jobs, been diagnosed with a serious illness or are too old, too young or are too ill to work.

How can you have a healthy workforce if you don't plan for one? The benefits are obvious.It is shameful that we neglect our fellow citizens so that a few very wealthy CEOs and their companies can make record-breaking obscene profits.
This is a moral issue.It is also a matter of national pride.

Posted by: lindalrs | August 27, 2009 3:31 PM

Yes, lindairs, it's moral issue and a matter of national pride. We MUST do the right thing and FIGHT the abomination of Obacare, another scam designed to destroy our country and enslave us.

No thinking person believes Obama's ridiculous fairy tales! Obama says his Obamacare bill can be "budget neutral." What a preposterous fairy tale!

Providing coverage for 50 million MORE people and paying for Obama’s armies of bureaucrats to run the Obamacare means further INCREASING OUR DEFFICIT and RATIONING MEDICINE.

Obama's laughable fairy tales only serve to demonstrate that Obamacare is just another power grab that will further destroy our health care, further destroy our economy, steal more money from our children and grandchildren, further multiply our deficit, multiply poverty, and further enslave us through lies, manipulation, intimidation and coercion.

We must defend our country from the Obamacare scam and socialism/communism.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 27, 2009 7:01 PM

I have yet to hear an answer, apart from involving the millions of uninsured into paying *something* into the system in order to lower premiums, to the outstanding problem of the human wave of Baby Boomers about to retire who will break our national health care system as it is currently configured by sheer weight of numbers! Under Obama's plan, the twenty and thirty year olds who use little if any health care services would be, in effect, the cushion for the Baby Boomers. Call it "Medicare Basic." But without those high pay in, low use young adults kicking money in at the bottom, the entire structure is going to become top heavy and the Baby Boomers are not going to retire on a cushion as their health care benefits are slowly phased out (as they age and therefore become greater liabilities to the health insurance industry), they're going to land on their obese asses. Yet, this is the selfsame demographic that is disrupting town halls all over the country and any chance for comprehensive reform - the only thing that could guarantee that all 76 million of them are going to be able to afford the health services they need! Me, I'm thirty and in excellent health. I say, let them kill it if they want to. I'll still be healthy when the reprocussions of killing this Bill reverbrate through the system like a shockwave, and the public option is thrown back in the limelight as the only way to save the Boomers...(or, half of them.) Saves me plenty, and me and my demographic will still have comprehensive care by the time we actually need it.
It's the Boomers that will bite this bullet. Not the Gen Xers.

Posted by: mrncheryl | August 28, 2009 12:35 AM

It's an abusive relationship straight from the south.
Insurance Companies To America: “I hit you because I love you. You know you’re not going to leave me.” - http://sandboxreport.com/?p=410

Posted by: SandboxReport | August 29, 2009 4:01 PM

Amusing "debate." I'm kind of wondering where AntonioSosa works, as he does not seem to be very busy participating in the free enterprise system he so esteems.

"Focused" as our friend may be, I have heard this tune before. My former in-laws, coming from South America, were rightly enthused about their ability to achieve here through "individual effort." But after 30 years, they still don't get it...the guy back home who comes down from the mountains to spread his meager wares on a blanket for sale is exercising individual effort too. However, there are no safe banks in which to put his money, no investments he can make, perhaps no clean water he can drink, and he may get robbed or have to pay a bribe on the way home.

In other words, government power, constrained by rule of law and a Constitutional system, can be used to *good* ends. If that were not so, we wouldn't have all these screaming people clutching their Medicare cards so tightly...

Posted by: Philosophe | August 31, 2009 3:38 PM

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