A quantum of optimism on health-care reform

Is optimism allowed on this blog?  Well, fuck you, I write the damn thing.  I’m also drunk and have slept well for the first night in weeks.

So way back when I quoted Andrew Sullivan‘s reply to Ross Douthat (arguing that “[T]he health care victory looks less like the dawn of a bold new era, and more like the final lurch forward before a slow retreat”) thus:

Or rather, surely, to embark on long-term, dead serious fiscal reform, while making sure the poorest and those most struggling in the barrel are kept on as equals, not cast aside as burdens. In the big fiscal task ahead, we’ll need a sense of fairness as well as strictness if we are to persuade a majority – rich an poor – of necessary but painful change.

I promised that:

If this HCR bill prompts actual useful entitlement reform before the country gets to the point that Greece just reached, I’ll sing its praises naked from the rooftops.

And y’know what?  Six months of sectoral-shift recession later, the entitlement-reform idea is bulldozing its way through the received axiomata of the thoughtful Left.  Here’s Matt Yglesias:

Meanwhile, I think the real issues are obscured by continuing conservative obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act. In a big-picture sense, what ACA is doing is transitioning American health care for the 64-and-under set into a means-tested voucher program. Meanwhile, the big conservative proposal is to transition American health care for the 65-and-over set into a means-tested voucher program. That doesn’t necessarily strike me as an unbridgeable chasm of principle.

(Emphasis added.)

So, in Matt-Y’s happy fantasy world, we’re going to quit fucking over young people to subsidize health care for rich old assholes?  Sign me up!

And some more good news from Austin Frakt, whence I quoted Matt Yglesias (you don’t think I read that shit any more, do you?):

I just gave one answer in my Kaiser Health News column today: taxpayers would save $50 billion per year on a Medicare voucher program that includes a public option.

$50,000,000,000 isn’t really all that much money*, but every little bit helps.

Incidentally, if you’re thinking of arguing either position on health-care reform, you should be reading The Incidental Economist.  Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll have been doing outstanding work lately.


* Yeah, I know; I just threw up a little in my mouth too.


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