September 04, 2009

Why the Democrats are *really* losing the Health Care Debate

Everyone's got an opinion, it seems. Let me tell you exactly why (I think) the health care debate has and will continue to be a loser.

Pure wealth redistribution -- and by "pure" I mean distribution of wealth on the basis of wealth alone, without regard to one's, say, service to the nation or having fallen into a crisis of one sort or another -- is only popular when you're taking from a minority to give to either a bigger minority or the majority. Five lions can vote to eat the lamb; that's majoritarianism in action, and that is more or less the meaning of the word popular.

You can fool people about an awful lot, but one thing that you won't fool people about is that providing health "insurance" -- really just a euphemism for "medical services" these days as there's little insurance-like about it -- to people who otherwise don't have it is the redistribution of resources from one group (those with insurance) to another (those without).

The problem is that those with health insurance severely outnumber those without. This small population doesn't have the same sort of political "pull" that other groups might. We've already got medical programs for the elderly, for children, for veterans, for the disabled... there's no "compassion" factor left in the uninsured population. They're just uninsured. And there aren't that many of them, relatively speaking.

The Democrats are trying to convince the five lions to serve themselves up so the lamb can have a snack.

Good luck with that.

Posted by at September 4, 2009 11:06 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Actually, I think you have hit on it here.

When polls continue to show that the majority both have health insurance and like their health insurance, it is difficult to mobilize them to (a) spend more of their money and (b) risk changes to what they perceive as working.

That said, I think the majority is extremely susceptible to campaign promises of health care reform, because during the campaign there is only talk of the benefits and never talk of the costs.

As a process issue (as opposed to a political one) that would seemingly make health care, like social security, a third rail: touch it and you die. My prediction is that "something" passes akin to the meaningless legislation that has repeatedly "Saved" social security.

Posted by: steve Newton at September 4, 2009 01:45 PM

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