Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
July 26, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

Truthdig Bazaar more items

Email this item Print this item

Health Care’s Second Wind

Posted on Oct 3, 2010

By E.J. Dionne Jr.

Here is another piece of conventional wisdom about this year’s election that is being rendered patently false. It’s been said over and over that no Democrats are running on the health care bill. Actually, more and more of them are proudly campaigning on what the plan has achieved—and they should.

Square, Story page, 2nd paragraph, mobile
In a fight for his political life in Wisconsin, Sen. Russ Feingold went on the air last week with an advertisement that explicitly defends provisions in the bill and attacks his opponent, Republican Ron Johnson, for wanting to repeal it.

The ad portrays two different Wisconsin citizens telling Johnson: “Hands off my health care.” Their message is that repealing the health care law would, as another voter says, “put insurance companies back in control.”

Feingold’s is one of the more powerful ads about the bill, but the senator is not alone. In an ad that focuses on holding corporations accountable, Rep. Steve Israel of New York touts the bill for stopping insurance companies from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions. In Nevada, Rep. Dina Titus has a TV ad praising the same provision.

And in his effort to win back a traditionally Democratic congressional seat in New Orleans, state Rep. Cedric Richmond has made incumbent Republican Joseph Cao’s vote against the health care bill a central issue in the campaign.


Square, Site wide, Desktop


Square, Site wide, Mobile
Why the sudden willingness to run on health care? The key reason is that the law didn’t even begin to take effect until Sept. 23, and the first elements to kick in are very popular. They include the guarantee that children cannot be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, a requirement that insurance companies allow kids to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26, and a ban on “rescissions” through which insurance companies could abruptly drop sick people from coverage.

Around the country, Democratic candidates are calling these parts of the bill a “Patient’s Bill of Rights,” as Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., put it in a column in The Huffington Post.

The standard Republican account was nicely summarized by Karl Rove in an Op-Ed piece in last Thursday’s Wall Street Journal. Rove argued that for Democrats, the health care bill “has become a reef on which many of their electoral hopes will founder.” He called the bill “a fiscal disaster of epic proportions” and declared that because of it, Democrats are “going to get an electoral defeat they won’t easily forget.”

Not so fast, Karl. In fact, there are two “health care bills” competing in this election. One is the parody Republicans have lovingly created that casts the health care bill as a big government monstrosity with no redeeming features. The other is the law itself, an admittedly sprawling legislative compromise that nonetheless moves things in the right direction—and most of whose individual elements voters support.

If Democrats say nothing about what the actual health care law does, the parody is all that will stick in the voters’ minds. The law’s champions rarely talk about the measure as a whole because it will take longer than a brief election campaign to clean off all the mud that’s now splattered on this baby, which is still tainted by the ugly, drawn-out process that produced it. Instead, like Feingold, Israel and Titus, the bill’s backers break it apart to extol the specific things it does that few voters want to repeal.

And they had better stay on the offensive long after the election, because many Republican candidates for governor and state legislative seats are already promising to undermine the law. This would have the effect of blocking efforts to extend insurance to some 30 million people. Honestly, do we really want to back away from that? Shouldn’t this be an issue, too?

The truth is that this bill was a first step. There are many health care battles ahead. If supporters of reform cave during the first round, as Rove is hoping they will, further progress will be impossible.

Yes, some Democrats in conservative districts voted against the bill and display this as a badge of their independence. But is that any surprise? This is exactly the sort of position moderate Republicans (when they actually existed) would take to survive in more liberal districts.

The real test is whether Democrats who supported the bill think they have an interest in defending what is a genuinely historic accomplishment. More and more, they are deciding that they do.

E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)
© 2010, Washington Post Writers Group

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments
G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, October 5, 2010 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

Don’t kid yourself…The health care we got is the one they wanted us to have. The one
that bails them out with tax payer money. That’s all they really wanted, because they
needed it to bail out a system that on its own would have gone under.

Good morning Obama nation, it’s time to wake up, this president presided over the
largest transfer of tax payer money to the corporations in history. You think that was an
accident? You think if more Republicans were kicked out it would be different?

You think that the Dems are different? Like any good con man they used your sacred
cows against you, throwing in a nice fat heart tug to seal the deal.  And you bought it.

Report this

By the worm, October 5, 2010 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

Well, if ‘politics is the art of the possible’ and health care reform is the only
thing that was possible, you have a very strong case for the Libertarian
argument to do away with most of DC.

Politics requires leadership, which this administration surely lacks.
And Democratic politics requires governing the public interest, which this
administration is simply not interested in.

The non-reform of health insurance is simply one of many examples. Here are
some more of what Obama and the nominal Democrats have done:

1. Gutted real financial reform (no Glass-Steagle, no ‘too big too fail) –
2. Rejected the only option that would have simultaneously extended coverage
and cut costs (single payer) -
3. Supported a stingy stimulus (one-third tax breaks) -
4. Doubled-down & accelerated the Bush bailouts -
5. Escalated a fruitless war in Afghanistan -
6. Not helped people in bankruptcy & needing mortgage remediation -
7. Not passed a jobs bill & had trouble extending unemployment compensation
8. Ignored previous Republican profligacy, crimes, misdemeanors -
9. Used “Heck of a Job, Timmy” to promote low taxes for the wealthy on capital
gains, dividends and ‘carried interest’ –
11. Sand bagged a budget balancing commission with a Max Baucus clone sent
in to gut Social Security

The simple fact is that Obama and the Democrats exerted themselves to help
bankers and the financial industry first and left nothing for the middle class,
nothing for the ‘general welfare’.

They drove the nation into debt by taking on the debt of the private sector and
covering it with taxpayer money.

They shafted us.

The health care non-reform, which puts billions more taxpayer dollars into the
hands of private insurers, is simply one of many examples of Obama and the
nominal Democrats turning their backs on the middle class.

Report this

By the worm, October 5, 2010 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

To fully appreciate what Obama achieved recall the context.

Just sixteen short months ago, in June 2009, a New York Times/CBS poll found

72% of Americans ‘supported a government-administered insurance plan—
something like Medicare for those under 65—that would compete for
customers with private insurers.’

During the next months, the Obama administration sat on its hands and did
nothing. While the Republican mau-mau squad hit the ‘townhalls’, Obama
made deals with the insurers assuring them of hundreds of thousands of new
premium payers and, if the hundreds of thousands couldnt pay, then taxpayer
money would go to insurers.

To seal the deal, Obama guaranteed the insurers they could use 20% of the
premium on anything they wanted; only 20 cents of every dollar needed to go
the health care service providers, the rest could be spent on advertising,
marketing, political contributions to ‘sympathetic’ candidates, CEO bonuses,

Liberals were against the plan, Independents were against the plan, predictably
most Republicans were against the plan. When all this was made clear to
Obama and the Democrats, they passed it anyway, because ‘they could get it

Well, of course, they could ‘get it through’; the insurance lobby made that

No one can seriously campaign on the ‘merits’ of Health Insurance Non-Reform;
it is completely indefensible.

If someone wants to campaign on Health Reform, they should be saying:

“That was the best we could do at the time and we are pledged to support a
single payer reform as soon as we return; it will cut premiums by 15-20%, save
you money and reduce the deficit.”

But no one in their right mind could support this give away to the private
insurance industry and the beggaring of the taxpayer to do it.

Report this

By tedmurphy41, October 5, 2010 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

But it’s still not good enough; still, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Report this

By Mardy, October 5, 2010 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

“Politics is the art of the possible.”  Thanks,
FiftyGigs and whoever else said that.  And thanks, E.J.
for an impassioned upbeat attempt to get people fired
up to vote the Republicans out of office.  You live
with what you have and try very hard to improve it,
difficult as that may be.

Report this
BarbieQue's avatar

By BarbieQue, October 4, 2010 at 10:43 pm Link to this comment

Special to those that say the party in power only needs a few more votes to do the peoples business:

(aside from the fact that the Democrats have controlled the House, the Senate and the Presidency for the past 1yr 9 mos)

Good Cop: Obama Proponent of Single-payer Universal Healthcare – Need to Win House, Senate, Whitehouse

“...Listening to a 2003 Obama speech, it’s hard to believe he has become such an enigma. Back then, he declared himself “a proponent of a single-payer universal healthcare program”—that is, one eliminating private insurers and their overhead costs by having government finance healthcare. Obama’s position was as controversial then as it is today—which is to say, controversial among political elites, but not among the general public. ABC’s 2003 poll showed almost two-thirds of Americans desiring a single-payer system “run by the government and financed by taxpayers,” just as CBS’s 2009 poll shows roughly the same percentage today.
In that speech six years ago, Obama said the only reason single-payer proponents should tolerate delay is

“because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.”

Good Cop: Obama Supports Public Plan

Sept 10, 2009 WASHINGTON (MarketWatch)—President Barack Obama stood behind a government-run insurance option in a high-stakes speech about health-care reform on Wednesday night. “An additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available,” Obama said, according to prepared remarks. But Obama said he is open to other ideas that cover the uninsured and reduce medical costs. He also said he won’t sign a bill that adds “one dime” to the deficit…”

But WAIT, there’s MORE!

Bad Cop: Obama Kills Public Option

“...This should be big news. Even while President Obama was saying that he thought a public option was a good idea and encouraging supporters to believe his healthcare plan would include one, he had promised for-profit hospital lobbyists that there would be no public option in the final bill.

(from a thread by scentopine that details much more good cop/bad cop behavior)

Doing the same thing over and over again is…What?

If all incumbents were voted out just once, the real work could begin towards public financing of elections and eliminating the whores that call themselves lobbyists (Yes Karen Ignagni, we’re talking about you)

Report this
ohiolibgal's avatar

By ohiolibgal, October 4, 2010 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment

There are good groundbreaking provisions in the health care bill - but at what cost? That is hardly ever discussed other than to say it’s “affordable”. Affordable for who? What’s affordable for one person is not affordable for another as more and more people are choosing what to cut back on or eliminate between food/medicine/heat.

I have heard Obama and others say stuff like it will “limit the rate of cost increases”. How does that help when people can’t afford it now?

Sometimes when I look at this problem I feel like I’m in bizarro world. Why should a third party be able to suck billions out of the equation? You see Well Point and others have executives making 10 or more million a year. How many chemo treatments or mammograms is that?

Oh, since Canada has negotiated much lower prescription drug prices, why can’t we drive up there and buy them?

So yes, there are some steps in this bill but there will still be winners and losers.

I’ll vote and I will be doing some phone banking but it’s quite hard to be overly enthusuastic when we, the progressives base, have been called “retards” by Obama’s hand picked chief of staff and when the message seems to be “we may have stunk it up but they are worse, we’re not them”. That bar is incredibly low and by supporting people who aren’t inclined to do more for Main Street I almost feel like an enabler.

Report this

By pabbott, October 4, 2010 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

Sorry for the typo, that was a debt to GDP ratio of 100% for the USA.

Report this

By pabbott, October 4, 2010 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment

In Canada, we have universal health care coverage and a single-payer insurance system through the government.  The system is not perfect, but no one I know has ever been refused service for anything.  There can be longish wait times, but not for anything serious.  Overall, the fiscal situation of our government is pretty strong.  Our debt to GDP ratio is about 35% compared to about 0 for the USA.

Report this

By Carl, October 4, 2010 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

How to Dupe Naive Liberals

Anyone who studies this issue knows that single payer is far superior than our screwy for profit racket. So how do they kill strong support for single payer? They bring out a corporate rep called Obama who talks a liberal line and then does the opposite. It is obvious, except Fox News and the right wing support him by opposing him, thus providing him cover.

Its the good cop, bad cop routine. The right winger and corporate execs support Obama and his faux health care plan, but if they said so openly liberals and progressives would scream. So they openly oppose Obama’s plans to give him cover, and the naive working class is fooled. Proof of this is found in the posts below.

Report this

By FiftyGigs, October 4, 2010 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

“Politics is the art of the possible.”

Amen. And political power is the vote.

Staying home isn’t “teaching a lesson”. The only lesson is that you aren’t a player. You don’t matter.

You’re sidelined.

Where Republicans want you.

Their latest effort is based on a “spin” called “lower expectations”. In other words, you, dear disgruntled progressive, can snuggle in your blankie all cozy next month, knowing that nothing could possibly happen that will affect you.

Heck, Barbour is coming right out in his best “Gee willikers” drawl saying even if they win BOTH Houses they can’t really accomplish nothing.

Yeah. That’s why they’re spending millions. To accomplish nothing, you see.

If you want to move a progressive agenda forward, you have to vote. Call it the “lesser of two evils”. Fine, you’re genius and everybody else is struggling to catch up, but if you don’t vote, you are functionally a Republican conservative.

NEWS FLASH: Big oil isn’t doing anything to improve safety. Does that tick you off? How about knowing that big oil is Haley’s golfing bud? Are you really going to blame Democrats for that, put Republicans in power, and expect something progressive to come of it????

Republicans are THE impediment to a progressive agenda. The sooner you vote them out—annihilate the conservative movement—the sooner you can take care of business.

Vote Republicans out.

Report this
G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, October 4, 2010 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

I will ask another question instead. Why do the rich corporations, and wealthy right
wing resent health care reform and want to repeal it ? Why does the miser scream and
cry over the loss of one penny when he’s already sitting on a mountain of gold?

Because the greedy can never be satisfied.

The 1 per centers already own this country and the would rather see it destroyed than
end their monstrous reign.

They want it all, every last penny. So it’s not a surprise that they want the few cents
that escaped them back tout sweet.

Report this
G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, October 4, 2010 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

Well what choice do they have? Isn’t that just the problem? Try not to live in a fantasy
world E.J., Americans were given just what the corporations wanted them to have.
They had no choice, and now their being told to like it. How much choice does a dog
have over it’s pet food? All it can do is beg for table scraps, and wag it’s tail when the
master deign’s to throw out a bone. Be thankful and stop whining or you’ll get the boot.

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, October 4, 2010 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

The Kremlin

Carl: Obama has made our system much worse by making corporate America’s grip much stronger. That is the “success.”

As spurious claptrap goes, congratulations.

If there was even a speck of truth to the above comment, why would BigManagement be donating willy-nilly to Rep candidates for office in this mid-term election?

Really, put your Thinking Cap on. What next? The Obama election in 2008 was all planned in the Kremlin? Why not? It’s just as believable as the nonsense cited above.

Politics is the art of the possible. Novices in the matter are not expected to understand the rule.

Report this

By Carl, October 4, 2010 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

Why more BS spin from the WashPost? Obama has made our system much worse by making corporate America’s grip much stronger. That is the “success.” As for reforms, its the duty of our for profit health care system to find ways to evade these rules. Lots of loopholes to be found.

So insurers must accept those sickly with pre-existing conditions? Not if their app gets tossed in the trash can. Or it can take up to six months for approval, even longer if returned several times for more questions. Or approved, and your premium is $10,000 a month.

Report this

By indc, October 4, 2010 at 6:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Health Care’s Second Wind?”  How about “Health Care that Passed Wind”.

An excellent comment.  I realize that Dionne is is determined to be a moderate centrist no matter how much the center has moved and continues to move to the right, but this is another article by him that is pure pandering to the fictions of Obama and his bogus claims of accomplishment…. much more was given away to insurance and big pharma than was gained for the American people, and last I checked, the presidency is a public office, not an extended lobbyist operations, even given the fact that insurance and pharma lobbyist visited the WH over 500 times in Obama’s first 10 month, this from the visitor logs… it does not speak about visit that took place elsewhere…this from the guy who promised to keep lobbyist out of the WH and at bay.

Obama is a clueless panderer… now we are in 3 wars independent of name changes…

Report this

By NC-Tom, October 4, 2010 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

“Health Care’s Second Wind?”  How about “Health Care that Passed Wind”.

I cant wait to find out how much more my Health Insurance will be next year. 
Unfortunately because of the economy I find myself on a fixed income much
sooner than I had expected, and will have a hard time absorbing any big premium

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, October 4, 2010 at 6:16 am Link to this comment


It is nonetheless difficult to disagree with Dionne’s basic notion, that is, once Americans get used to greater latitude in Health Services, they will ask for even more. Which could lead to a Public Option one day that would provide America with the world-class National Health System it needs so dearly.

Living in Europe (France, in fact) and knowing quite a few expats, I cannot think of one who has remained here as well as benefitted from French Health Care and who does not agree that it is superb. Once upon a time, French Health Care was not sufficient reason for expats to remain. Those who were bent upon pursuing career opportunities left somewhat easily.

But, that attitude has changed in the past five years. I now see expats arriving with the intent of subscribing to the French National Health Insurance scheme. And they tend to be the older variety who have more need for HC-services.

Whilst the younger expat, who arrives on assignment, looks more and more to convert to local employment – even if it means losing their considerable assignment perquisites. (Or putting up with a hide-bound French administration; which, for most Americans, is like jumping right into the devil’s maw.)

Report this
Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, October 4, 2010 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

I’m so very disappointed in you Mr. Dionne.  There are so few “straight reporting” journalists today. 

While it has always been clear where your policy allegiances lay, you could always be counted on to be factual and fair.  This latest article is so obviously a campaign piece with a mind toward the election in four short weeks.  I am very disappointed indeed.

There are over 530 men and woman in the House and Senate.  Roughly half that number are up for re-election.  I count exactly nine democrats, in relatively safe democratic districts, touting this heath-care monstrosity.  That is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an resurgence or “second wind”. 

You’re forgetting the majority, E.J..  You’re forgetting that, when polled, the vast majority of American voters clearly indicate the cost of health-care is the concern.  Very few voted for an health-care overhaul and most Americans want this latest health-care legislation repealed.


There is not a single major piece of legislation, passed or proposed over the last 19 months, that has enjoyed the support of the majority.  Not a single one.

Poll after poll.  Election after election.  The majority of Americans reject “progressive” solutions. - It’s important to keep in mind that the democratic party enjoyed a filibuster proof majority for the first year of the Obama administration.  The biggest obstacle to this latest “progressive agenda” was democrats themselves.

To the majority of voters the “Party of No” is looking pretty good about now.

Report this
Rigor's avatar

By Rigor, October 4, 2010 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

It violates the Constitution to require we buy a
product or service for profit.
I guess thats why congress, the whitehouse, supreme
court, justice dept., and I’m sure a few other dept.‘s
in government, don’t have to participate. (So I hear
since the details are, as Pelosi put it “we have to
pass it to know whats in it”).
Just the fact that the IRS is to be the enforcing
agent of this monstrosity is enough for me to know this
is a trojan horse at our gates.

Report this

By Z1, October 4, 2010 at 5:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Russ Feingold is wasting his time and his money defending the indefensible. Speaking of indefensible, so is cheerleading for a bunch of invertebrates E. J.! You should be pushing candidates that will work for an agenda that serves the American people, not big business!

Report this

By madisolation, October 4, 2010 at 4:40 am Link to this comment

So Congress passed insurance industry-friendly laws, and Democrats should go out and campaign on it. Brilliant! They should be sure to tell the voters that insurance corporations can drop customers, raise rates all they want, when they want, and there’s nothing Congress can or will do about it! Be sure and tell voters that 30 million of ‘em are going to be forced into the greedy, bloody arms of insurance corporations! If the voters can’t pay? No problem! The taxpayers will give the insurance corporations hundreds of millions of dollars! Heck, it worked for Wall Street!
If Russ Feingold had screwed up all his courage and voted no on this anti-citizen, piece of crap legislation, he could be running on that—and he’d be winning.

Report this

By pundaint, October 4, 2010 at 3:12 am Link to this comment

A step in the wrong direction is not an achievement just because it can be fixed. 

This only makes the cost pressure worse, because insurers take is limited to a percentage of the handle.  They will surely find a way to inflate that handle to raise their revenues.  They’re already buying up facilities. 

We hardly even mention the give away to Pharmaceuticals in exchange for their promise to hold their rates to the Worlds highest for Americans.  To show their appreciation, they raised their prices before implementation so they didn’t have to afterward.

The bill doesn’t take full effect for years.  Do not expect any of our Congressional cowards to reengage before that.  We’ve got 4 more years of “give it a chance” coming.

Report this
BarbieQue's avatar

By BarbieQue, October 4, 2010 at 2:58 am Link to this comment

>>”...This would have the effect of blocking efforts to extend insurance to some 30 million people…”<<<

Once again it’s like Insurance Pixie Dust is going to fall from the skies around DC and the Hot Air from Congress will blow it magically into every good little American Serfs portfolio while they sleep.

The Democrats *Did Not* “Extend insurance” they MANDATED the Purchase of it from for profit companies. Something never before done in our brief history. And something Barack Obama campaigned against.

I’m certain that E.J.Dionne, Joe Conason, Eugene Robinson and the other (D)emocrats that repeatedly write about the wonders 2010 Health Insurance Ripoff and Enslavement Act (HIRE) would have surely supported the exact same plan if that exact same plan was passed against popular will by the (R)epublicans. Mandated Purchases from For Profit Companies without a public option. Yep, I sure am. Har Dee Har Har.

Hey Here’s Queen Nancy telling a reporter to go eat cake:

When Asked Where the Constitution Authorizes Congress to Order Americans To Buy Health Insurance, Pelosi Says: ‘Are You Serious?’ Then her spokesman added, thoughtfully and respectfully: “You can put this on the record,” spokesman Elshami. “That is not a serious question. That is not a serious question.”

Now this is good, although laughing about it could make one feel a bit guilty:
House Judiciary Chairman Says Constitution’s Non-Existent ‘Good and Welfare Clause’ Authorizes Congress to Force Americans to Buy Health Insurance

The silence from both parties on the constitutionality of the government ordering ts serfs to purchase anything from a for profit company is stunning. One would expect it from the (D)onkeys but the (R)s are supposed to be about law and stuff (sarc)

Report this

By ardee, October 4, 2010 at 2:36 am Link to this comment

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I am a supporter of that which our Founders created. I do not overlook the fact that this creation has been subverted and altered to the benefit of the few over the many, yet I refuse to throw away a system of governance that can and should be the best in the world.

Mr.Dionne is free to laud the Democrats for two lines in a law with over 2000 pages , one that excludes 25 million of us from health care, and guarantees profits for one industry ( insurance) over ensuring the “general welfare”. Just as I am free to point out this hypocrisy.

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, October 4, 2010 at 1:36 am Link to this comment


Does America really ‘n truly need a HC-system that costs and arm and a leg (pun intended)? For roughly the same level of service (and technology) Western European countries have identical health care services but at a much lower cost. See this OECD info-graphic here.

Nobody in their right mind can remain nonplussed before the graphic evidence of outrageous costs that prevail in America. And just from where are those costs derived. Have a look at this graphic (produced by the Kaiser Foundation) here and click on “How is the U.S. health care dollar spent?”, second in the list of highlights.

More than 51% is in costs related to running hospitals, meaning salaried costs. The average GP in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earns $164K per year, with Specialist Physicians earning considerably more ($210K).

From the Kaiser Foundation report (cited above):

Government regulation – Citing the success of the Medicare program in controlling per capita spending over its history and warning that market-based approaches combined with greater individual financial responsibility can disadvantage those with limited financial resources and create barriers to needed care, some policymakers favor more government involvement in the health care sector.  Critics argue that such regulation stifles innovation and that market-based approaches are more cost-effective and will provide consumers with a wider range of choices

So, Free Market supporters would have us believe that competition brings about lowest possible costs? OK, now have a look at how competitive Health Care insurance is, for example, across the nation. Go to this info-graphic here.


Belief in the Market Mechanism, as an integral part of the larger capitalist system, is appropriate. It has served mankind well for a great long time. But not all markets are that “free” and an oligopolistic Health Care market is certainly one that is ineffectual. Why?

Because due to the fact that the Demand for services far outstrips its Supply, the market does NOT deliver HC-services at the minimal cost. Quite the opposite, in fact.

European governments took another approach more than fifty years ago - and the per capita cost results are described in the first graphic above.

It is time to end the Free Enterprise claptrap, which is a disguise for extreme market liberalism; the kind that brought us the SubPrime Mess, the Credit Mechanism Seizure of 2008 and its baby, the Great Recession of 2009.

Free markets do not always “get it right”, especially when oversight agencies are either neutered by the Executive (as Bush/Cheney did) or not allowed to execute their duties of market surveillance and control.

Report this
Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, October 4, 2010 at 12:29 am Link to this comment


It’s been said over and over that no Democrats are running on the health care bill. Actually, more and more of them are proudly campaigning on what the plan has achieved—and they should.

And well they should. The facts of American Health Care are dismal, as anybody should know except, apparently, the American Congress. See here for the OECD report “Health Care at a Glance – 2009” in pdf.

Moreover, the head of the agency that wrote the report, an American, made its conclusions known in 2009, before passage of HC-legislation in 2010 (which precluded any Public Option for Health Care in America). Read all about it here.

One might be led to ask their Congressional why they did not take Pearson’s comments into account before precluding the Public Option part of Obama’s proposition?

Nearly all the lapses in American Health Care are due to the fact that it is an oligopolistic private market-mechanism, that is subsidized but not run by a government agency. (Aka “Corporate Welfare”.)

And it remains such because Congress decided yet again to genuflect at the altar of Private Enterprise—by ripping off the American taxpayer.

The facts of HC were made amply clear to them long before Congress decided to disregard them.

Report this
Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide

Like Truthdig on Facebook