self interest & the healthcare debate

Paul M Coopersmith
Inverness, California

The longer this debate about health care "reform" continues along the lines it's been going, the more embarrassing it becomes to be an American. The rest of the developed world looks at us and shakes their heads in disbelief, astonished at what fools we are. Voting against our own best interests, over and over again!

I never thought I'd say it. But now I will. Ralph Nader had a point in the 2000 election. Democrat or Republican, all we seem to get is same old, same old.

wailiku, hi

Unfortunately, the middle class does not pay much attention to its own economic welfare when the government is involved.

The middle class would rather see the rich get richer while the middle class stagnates than actually follow economic statistical fluctuations.

That is the nail Reagan hit on the head.: the desire for ignorance found in the American middle class.

Mitch Gitman

As much as I fear the Democrats are susceptible to Reaganism, my greater fear with health insurance reform is Emanuelism. As in Rahm Emanuel.

I fear that political calculation will win the day over a holistic, sophisticated understanding of what does and doesn't work, and Obama and the Democrats will cave and settle for health insurance reform without the public option or its equivalent.

Yes, it would still be "the greatest progressive legislative accomplishment in four decades," to use Matthew Yglesias's description in "The Daily Beast." But just to compare, you could also describe convincing Congress and the American people to go to war in Iraq as the neo-conservatives' greatest political accomplishment ever, and how did that work out? We followed the Rumsfeld doctrine of just enough troops to lose, and the neo-cons' great victory became their great defeat.

Democrats, don't repeat that mistake. Health insurance reform without stiff competition for the private insurers will be just enough reform to lose. And in a few years as costs continue to spiral for lack of a real marketplace, the Obama administration will learn the political costs (not to mention the dollar costs) of taking the politically expedient route.

Dan Bosko
New York, NY

The best argument for the public option is that private insurers are rabidly opposed to it. What does that tell us? We can be sure that their opposition to it is not based on a love for their customers. Rather, it is that they want to maintain their monopolistic stranglehold over us. They are, after all, entities that refuse coverage to those with preexisting conditions. Heaven forbid that customers might have elsewhere to go in a health care-reformed America.
Efforts for reform have just received an unfortunate blow from Senator Joe Lieberman, who considers a recessionary period a poor time to enact health care change. Though I never trusted his motives, now I doubt his intelligence as well. Does he not understand that the fiasco which passes for health care in this country is one of the major factors in our economic torpor? Apparently not.
And one final point. For health insurance to work, everyone needs to buy into it. Imagine if Social Security were optional. Just think if, having calculated that you wouldn't be needing it down the line, you could opt out of your payroll tax. Where would that leave the system that most Americans have come to rely upon in their senior years? It would leave it in the same mess that health care has found itself in, without doubt.

Stan D.
Salt Spring Island, BC

Could it be that as of now not enough Americans have reached the level of suffering that would compel serious action for change?

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