Friday, March 26, 2010

A conspiratorial fantasy

A disclaimer:

I don't write much directly about politics here, and I don't profess to be a political analyst, at least in this particular context. I know my own particular points of view on political issues surface from time to time, but generally I prefer to leave a lot of the heavy lifting of debating politics to others.

Now, an exception...

I'll acknowledge being very pleased with the health insurance reform legislation that passed this week. I'll also acknowledge that, if it were up to me, I'd like it to have been a lot different -- probably something much more like a single-payer model. At the same time, I think what we have now is a very good start, and I think the most rabid right-wing critiques of it ("government takeover!" "socialism!" "death panels!") are hooey. Or "bovine feces," as someone else on the net said today about, I think, a somewhat different topic...

But...

I've been reading a lot lately that this is basically Mitt Romney's Massachusetts plan -- mandated health insurance and all. Or that it's very similar to ideas that came out of the Heritage Foundation about a decade ago. Or, in fact, the GOP alternative floated in the 1990s to the Clinton reform proposal. And then we hear people like David Frum lament that the GOP should have engaged the actual bill instead of carping on the sidelines and might have gotten more from it...

(An aside: As a newspaper reporter in the early '90s who covered some ideas in health care reform at the time, through the lens of a Business Desk workplace reporter, I recall doing a story about a set of proposals coming from a guy who at the time worked for Liberty Mutual. It was, in essence, a private-sector approach to universal health care. Mandated insurance was an important part of his proposal.)

And I wonder...

What if all the hysteria on the right -- the Tea Party Town Hall protests, the crazy association of Obama with Hitler -- was just some crazy-ass feint? What if the whole thing was the GOP saying, "Please don't throw me in the briar patch!"? Because in the end, they got their plan from 1994 or so, didn't they?

Just sayin'...



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