Beauty of Gray

Friday, May 16, 2003

Why healthcare is not a winning political issue

Admit it, your eyes glazed over a bit at that headline, didn’t they? And even more than they usually do at my headlines, I bet. And that’s the problem, in a nutshell.

I was just over at Asymmetrical Information, and Jane Galt had posted an item: a quick link to a “really good piece on health care.” And I kept scrolling, and then stopped and forced myself, literally out of a sense of duty, to go read the article she had linked. Now, I’m something of a policy wonk, and find economic arguments fairly interesting, and follow politics and policy even when there isn’t a campaign going on. So as an audience, I’m as good as it gets when it comes to arguments about health care. And my eyes glaze over when someone mentions the issue and I either ignore it or force myself to slog through the details.

So if that’s my reaction, imagine what the reaction is of the average voter who doesn’t really enjoy digging their claws into a nice meaty policy wonk argument. Health care is an immensely complicated issue with no really good, clear, unambiguous solutions. But there are some really easy, clear, simple to grasp criticisms of any big, ambitious plan. So Joe Voter is going to hear “health care costs inflation blah blah single payer blah blah tax incentives….” From one side before they flip the channel. From the other side he’s going to hear “My opponent wants to spend 250 billion dollars to get the Federal bureaucracy involved in running your healthcare.” Figuring out who is going to win that argument is a no brainer.

People don’t trust the government, they aren’t that happy with most big government programs, they don’t want to raise their taxes to pay for big new ones, and, the real kicker, they have health care and, while it’s not the greatest, it works just fine for them. And if someone doesn’t like all the paperwork and hoops they have to jump through for their HMO, can anyone seriously believe that bringing the Federal Government into the situation is a solution to these concerns?

If the Democrats want to lose the election, there’s no more certain way to do so than to make health care reforms the central aspect and signature issue of their campaign.

Link posted by Doug Turnbull at 11:31 AM

Thursday, May 15, 2003
A shocking development

And the award for the least surprising sentence written anywhere this week goes to....Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, for his observation that "Meanwhile Andrew Sullivan has plenty to say on what's going on at the Times, as does Mickey Kaus." Good to see that the obsessions of Kaus and Sullivan haven't changed in the many months since their endless and tedious carping about the Times drove me away from their sites.

Link posted by Doug Turnbull at 6:23 AM

Apologies for the hiatus

I've been busy getting a new job, quitting the old one, selling a house, and buying a new house. So blogging, which was sporadic to begin with, decreased to non-existence. I've still got to deal with moving and various other details, so I can't make any promises, but hopefully I'll at least move back into the sporadic posting category.

Link posted by Doug Turnbull at 6:18 AM

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