01 July 2009

Thank you

This has been bugging me for a while now: I can't write about the proposed health care reforms without some twit in the comments or an email writing that "Obama's" plan is going to ... [insert various calamity here].

As usual, it takes Nate Silver to make the point clearly:

FiveThirtyEight: Politics Done Right: Obama Has a Health Care Plan?
CNN asked a stupid question and got a stupid result:

From everything you have heard or read so far, do you favor or oppose Barack Obama's plan to reform health care?

51% Favor, 45% Oppose


OK, so in fact there's nothing stupid about the question at all. The public's response, likewise, is perfectly reasonable given the information they were provided.

But a better question might be: what exactly is Barack Obama's health care plan? Does he have one?

And if so, what's included in it? Is it the plan Obama advanced on the campaign trail, which had a public option but lacked an individual mandate? Is it the one making its way through the Senate Finance Committee, which has an individual mandate but lacks a public option? Is it the House's version, which has both?
Yes.  Obama himself doesn't have a health reform plan.  There are a zillion proposals floating out there, many of which have been explicitly or implicitly endorsed by Obama, some of which have features favored by Obama, but none of which were crafted by Obama or anybody in his administration.

This may be bad politics, as Nate goes on to suggest, because it allows critics to attack his plan (which doesn't even exist).  On the other hand, Clinton famously took a micromanaging approach with congress in his attempts to reform healthcare with disastrous results.  I'm not sold on the "right" way to go about it, politically, either way.

But one thing which is pretty clear to me is that the critics who make blanket statements against "ObamaCare" are either ignorant or not arguing in good faith.  A lot of critcics, to their credit, are on-point, and make good policy arguments against specific provisions such as the public plan or single payer or what-have-you.  But the majority, I'm sorry to report, seem very clearly in the "whatever it is, I'm against it" camp.  And that has no credibility whatsoever.

1 comment:

  1. LawdHaveMRSA7/02/2009 3:31 AM

    That is because sadly the vast majority of Americans are quite ignorant, and lack the basic skills of questioning and reason that allow a human to be informed and concerned about things beyond the next ungrammaticated txt msg or I-phone app. (don't get me wrong I love geeky shit, cheezy shit, and tawdry shit too, but enjoy it all as such and can consider issues that will really matter whether we know about it or not) Most Americans know little more than the sound bits fed to them from their selection of talking head on TV or just what they re-spew from friends/family who watch it and get their opinions for them, like a mother dumb-ass having to pre-digest the meal for them and regurgitating it so they can use it in their even less developed synapses..... huperak, glagor

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