Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Health Care and Porcupines
There's a cliche about how porcupines have sex (answer: very carefully) that's topical to the current problems with health care, especially as far as the Republicans are concerned. Even if we agree that the various iterations of the Obama health care plan ought to be defeated, Stacy McCain is wrong to criticize David Frum for looking at the bigger picture.
I'm not exactly sure if Frum is trying to say we should acquiesce to some kind of health care reform for the sake of exploding the third-rail status of the big entitlements. If he is, I don't necessarily agree with it. But, we do have to acknowledge that the cost of health care is creating substantial pressure against the status quo and that the GOP currently operates in a very limited bandwidth environment. Therefore it must conserve it's message as best as it can. In particular,
1. Health care costs are a very serious problem.
2. Just because the status quo is unsatisfactory, it does not follow that any change is an improvement.
3. So far we have no reason to be sure that any of the Democratic plans are better than the status quo.
4. The Democrats are in the majority so we have to respond on their terms.
5. As soon as the Democrats have a coherent explanation for why their plan improves the status quo, we'll consider it.
6. If the Democrats want to know how we'd attack the issue, we'll tell them.
7. So far, the Democrats haven't shown any interest in that.
I'm afraid this might already be too complicated, but on balance I don't think it is. The key is not to get distracted trying to push our own polemic.