October 27, 2007

Krugman on Health Care

Ezra Klein interviewed Paul Krugman on his new book the other day. And it seems that Krugman believes as I do, real universal health care would usher in a true progressive day as it would affirm to Americans that a government that works for the citizens of the United States can be relied upon to do things right.

EK: And one thing you sort of suggest in the book is that universal health care isn't merely good policy but has the potential to act as the wedge on rolling a lot of this back, on changing how people think of government, what they think of what their responsibility to each other is -- that it has a cultural component.

PK: Yeah, I mean this is one of the few things on which William Kristol and I are in complete agreement. Bill Kristol had this famous memo during the defeat of the Clinton health care plan saying, we as Republicans must ensure that there is no plan because if there is a plan, if Clinton gets something, it will legitimize, re-legitimize the welfare state, and he's right. Universal health care is important and worth doing in its own right, but it also clearly would be a demonstration that you can do good things, that government can make society safer and more equitable, which is why conservatives are so hysterical over even S-CHIP. If we can get heath care, and I think we have slightly better than even odds that we can, it does change the whole set of norms.

(Note Reagan thought government was the enemy. Well, we now have definite experience that Republicans in thrall to rightwing orthodoxy are the real enemy of the people and our Constitution.)

Posted by Mary at October 27, 2007 12:36 AM | Health/Medicine/Health Care | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

I am continually amazed by the "values voters" and "Christian" conservatives who so easily place their "free market" ideology above the health of their fellow citizens, and even their own health. They are clearly more interested in proving that their economic theory is correct (which already requires a complete suspension of rational thought) than following the values of their alleged Lord Jesus.

Posted by: Charles at October 27, 2007 07:13 AM

I think the folks you see on TV and in newspapers espousing those positions figure that they'll be doing just fine. Most are rich, or at least well-off enough that they shouldn't ever have to worry about where their food, shelter, and health care comes from. The rest of us, figuratively, can go to hell as far as they're concerned.

As for what their followers think, I think you just have to ask yourself the question "What have the Democrats tried to do for us lately?" to realize why they vote Republican. The Democrats don't seem interested in doing anything for us working stiffs any more. Oh, sure, there are a few who talk about raising the minimum wage, and fewer still who talk about universal health care or workers' rights, but for the most part they haven't tried to do anything worth talking about. At least the Republicans promise to do something about gay marriage and abortion. That might not be something that affects them very much, but it's on their minds.

Posted by: Cujo359 at October 28, 2007 11:54 AM

I just finished reading Krugman's Conscience of a Liberal. It's a thoughtful manifesto disecting the rise and current fall of the right wing, and why this is now the time for liberals and progressives to really make some bold changes. It's definitely worth reading and passing around.

Posted by: Mike at October 28, 2007 03:37 PM