Thursday, December 18, 2008

Universal Health Care & the GOP

At the Center for Media and Democracy, there is a really good analysis that helps to explain why conservatives hate the concept of a universal government health plan.
  • Michael F. Cannon, a pundit at the libertarian Cato Institute, has written a blog post that highlights the importance of what I believe will be one of the most important issues in play once Barack Obama assumes the U.S. presidency. "Blocking Obama's health plan," he writes, is " key to the GOP's survival."
  • [What is] Cannon's big fear -- a fear that has been haunting conservatives in the United States for more than a decade? They worry that a universal government health plan, if it should ever come to pass, will be so wildly popular with the public that they will reward Democrats for passing it.
  • The same fear was expressed in 1997 by Grover Norquist, the conservative activist who famously declared that his goal is to shrink government "down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." In an interview with the libertarian Reason magazine, Norquist said that he was motivated in the early 1990s to organize his conservative coalition by "sheer terror of Clinton's health-care plan.
When you go read it, be sure you check out the graph more than mid-way into the article, "Let's Destroy Your Health to Save the GOP." It shows life expectancy at birth (in years--42nd in the world; we are behind France, but hey, we are ahead of Turkey.) vs the total per capita expenditures on health (in dollars--$6,102 in 2004--WAY ahead of everybody else). That means we pay much more and get much less.

Yep, that's a reason to keep doing things just the way we have been.

In addition, a study in published April 2006 found that the United States has the third-highest rate of deaths from medical errors, among 26 countries reporting.

Very enlightening.


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