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June 21, 2007

Morning Panelling

Spent the morning arguing health care over at the Cato event -- a panel discussion that I was surprised to find advertised in the literature handed out by the anti-Moore protesters at last night's DC premiere of Sicko (review forthcoming). I am a tool of the right-wing! In this case, though, the right-wing was a kid dressed like Castro and six nurses in miniskirts. Apparently, under socialism, nurses turn slutty and Castro grows young. Back in the real world, an actual nurse in line behind me tsk-tsk'd at the girls. "No nurse in any system could work in those high heels," she said.

The panel this morning was useful, even if I don't have a whole ton to say about it. I find arguing health care to be a relief, as the facts are so resolutely aligned in favor of further integration and public involvement. Immigration is much tougher, and less clear-cut. What always strikes me at these panels, though, is how much agreement there really is. Michael Cannon and I would build very different systems, to be sure, but at base, we both believe the employer tie to be awful, and the insurers to suck, and the hospitals to be performing below expectations, and on, and on. The obstacles to reform are not intellectual disagreement or policy uncertainties -- they're interest groups trying to protect a system that benefits them.

Now I have to blog, write two separate articles (including a review of Sicko), and finish it all by 4:30, when I'm going on Hardball tonight (more info on that as I get it). Hoo boy.

June 21, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

I wouldn't off-handedly blame interest groups. I think those on the right genuinely believe that a market-based system would do better, and I think those on the left genuinely think a government-run system would do better. Neither ideology is more sincere than the other.

Posted by: Jason | Jun 21, 2007 11:44:36 AM

But what's obstructing reform isn't that argument, it's the interest groups.

Posted by: Ezra | Jun 21, 2007 11:50:45 AM

"No nurse in any system could work in those high heels," she said.

I think it's safe to say that anyone who's conservative on health care probably has very little experience with nurses outside of watching porn.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Jun 21, 2007 11:59:18 AM

Big Media Ezra!

I think that while interest groups are part of the obstacle to reform, political tensions (Dems wanting credit, GOP not wanting to revitalize activist govt) are also a big obstacle. Indeed they were probably the biggest obstacle in 1994 ... bigger than Harry and Louise. If the GOP Senate leadership says "no bill" and you get the Chafee/Danforth/Durenburger moderats to knuckle under, there's no bill. If the GOP leadership says "You have a mandate. We're not going to work with you, but we will give Senators a pass if they think they need it for reelection" and Harry and Louise show up, you probably still get a bill.

But maybe I am being optimistic.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Jun 21, 2007 12:30:56 PM

Repubs will likely do a repeat on the Dept. of Homeland Security fight, and the Medicare Part D drug bill. If they maneuver such that it is their bill, and definitely not the Dems bill, they might support some private sector reform of health care. Otherwise, Harry & Louise II, dawn to midnight, daily.

Kudlow's guest (with Ezra) previewed M&L II: the Dems are after your body.

In Re Hardball: say goodbye to Ezra's blog posts here real soon now. He's going to have to sacrifice us to be a more potent/less pliant version of Donna Brazile on The News Talk Shows. [heheh]

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jun 21, 2007 12:45:28 PM

Donna Brazile is on of the most incompetent "strategists" I have ever seen. I still can't understand why she gets so much facetime on the talk shows. She must have some pictures.

Posted by: Patricia | Jun 21, 2007 12:56:04 PM

If Republicans think that a likely increase in slutty nurses will make healthcare reform less popular, they really have lost touch with their base.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jun 21, 2007 12:57:58 PM

Apparently, under socialism, nurses turn slutty

Maybe this is meant to be a Yakov Smirnoff-style reverse joke. "In America, at doctor's office, you put on skimpy garment so nurses can observe your body. In Communist Cuba, nurses put on skimpy garment, and they are observed by you!"

Posted by: SDM | Jun 21, 2007 1:17:16 PM

I went to the panel this morning - thanks to Ezra for announcing it!

I liked that all involved seem to recognize that "arguing by anecdote" is often invalid. The irony is that I remember the anecdotes from the panel this morning and don't remember much of the statistics.

I wish there had been more time for Ezra to expand on the arguments against a free market system. He basically only had time to say: "A free market system is untested. Universal systems work well in France, Germany, etc. Let's go with what works".

Posted by: MarkT | Jun 21, 2007 2:17:57 PM

But what's obstructing reform isn't that argument, it's the interest groups.

No, what's blocking reform--or, rather, the kind of dramatic reform you seek--is your inability to persuade a large and enduring majority of Americans that it would produce a better health care system than the one we have now. That's because there are very good reasons to doubt that the health care system you want would be better, rather than just different, or perhaps worse.

Posted by: JasonR | Jun 21, 2007 2:20:15 PM

Would somebody replace the needle on Jason R's antique wind-up phonograph player. It's stuck playing the same groove over and over and over. And its a just awful song too.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jun 21, 2007 3:26:03 PM

There are only two sure things in the world: revolution and nurses

Posted by: Fidel | Jun 21, 2007 4:32:15 PM

There's no doubt that our health care system has imperfections. Perhaps the whole idea behind a protest at Michael Moore's premiere of Sicko, or a panel discussion hosted by Cato is, in fact, a chance for a useful debate over what the solution should actually be. To be clear, no one should ever have a monopoly on the sharing of ideas.

Where Michael Moore is backed by millions of dollars to spread his ideas across the nation in theaters near you, the other side of the debate uses a more creative way to gain attention to their cause, by using costumes.

As I heard one actual RN say to a group of "slutty" nurses at the premiere, "Good for you girls, it takes courage to stand up for something."

Thankfully, this generation of young people has the courage to stand up for what they believe in, even if this incites the crowd to cry "sluts!", for lack of a better response. I guess debate to some, requires name calling and/or agism.

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Posted by: judy | Oct 8, 2007 9:05:26 AM

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