Why Health Care Reform Is Getting Conservative

A pair of Megan McArdle posts underline an interesting political dynamic which is applying itself to the various health care reform bills percolating in the congress.

The Senate finance committee bill has rejected a “public option” component (full story at WSJ).

Meanwhile, it’s increasingly likely that subsidies provided for people to buy private insurance will only pay for plans which do not include abortion. (Putting pro-choice Democrats in the amusing position of arguing that this would be an excessive and unnatural distortion of the private insurance market. Not often do Ayn Rand and Nancy Pelosi embrace.)

Why are the health care reform bills increasingly tilting conservative, even after Republicans have largely walked out of the process? It’s actually pretty natural. Hard left members of congress are unlikely to vote against the health care reform bill no matter what, since it’s the cornerstone of what they want Obama to achieve in his first term. Any bill with “health care” in the title and President Obama’s signature on it will meet their basic approval criteria.

This means that all the power on the direction of the debate is on the side of the blue dog Democrats who may choose to drop off the right side of the coalition. Thus, it’s likely that nearly all the changes we’ll see in the bills on the table at this point will be in a more conservative direction, as mainstream Dems try to make sure that the Blue Dogs stay on board. And the potential failure point for the bill as a whole comes if through this process the bill becomes so watered down that the left end of the coalition loses interest in the bill.

5 Responses to Why Health Care Reform Is Getting Conservative

  1. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Karlson is right. It is precisely that type of ineffective leftist agit-prop pushing a policy that the majority of Americans do not want that is causing the socialist aspects of ObamaCare to fall by the wayside. Dems who are not lucky enough to run in states or districts where Lenin or Stalin could win if they had a D after their names are beginning to realize they are facing electoral disaster next year. For example incumbent senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is running behind all four of her prospective Republican challengers.


    ObamaCare is about fork ready. On behalf of my fellow Republicans everywhere, I do thank the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress for pushing this ill-conceived plan that has managed to awake most Americans to the dangers of one party rule in Washington. I have often said that Jimmy Carter created more Republicans than Ronald Reagan ever did, and I do appreciate the efforts of Obama, Pelosi and Reid to outdo Carter’s heroic efforts for the GOP.

  2. j. christian says:

    I’m happy to see the public option getting the treatment it deserves, but it would be nice if conservatives came up with a coherent, alternative plan that addresses the uninsured population (or, at least the segment of it deserving of subsidy/aid).

  3. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Here is what the Republicans have proposed:


  4. American Knight says:

    j. christian,

    Make sure you do NOT confuse uninsured with uninsurable.

    Uninsured are people who do not have but may access insurance. Some may not be able to afford it; however, that is very few judging by the fact that ‘poor’ in America own a TV, DVD, game console, car, live in a home better than 90% of the planet, etc. Others don’t want insurance becuase they don’t see the benefit, and some other reasons.

    Uninsurable are people with existing health problems that CANNOT get individual medical insurance. That is less than 5 million people. You cannot expect an insurance company to offer coverage for someone who they know WILL make a large claim. That would defy the defenition of insurance, medical or otherwise. Additionally, this is not fair to the insurable in those risk pools.

    I am confident that if we increase American aggregate wealth with lower taxes, less redundant regulation, rational tort reform and eliminate other illicit government intervention, we, as a country can more than afford to provide care for the uninsurable.

    Our responsibility to the less fortunte, in this case, people with health problems, is to choose to take care of them in Charity, Love. Government is force, it cannot be charitable it can only redistribute by force and distort the natural price system in the process, which creates a whole host of other evils.

    Access to health care has nothing to do with medical insurance. Medical insurance is a risk management tool like any other insurance. Health care is not a right either; however, since we have been blessed with a free market (sort of) that has advanced health care so dramatically, we should provide access to everyone — that is done through lower prices, more choices and increased wealth which can be used for charitable purposes. The free market is the best mechanism we know to do that.

    Those are all overwhelmingly genuine conservative values – note, coservative doesn’t mean Republican.

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