Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, December 16th, 2009.


Why Progressives Are Nuts to Oppose the Mandate

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Health Care

For years progressives (like me) have asked why we can’t have a health care system more like those in other countries. Well, folks, listen up — Jonathan Cohn writes,

The Netherlands and Switzerland require their residents to purchase health insurance from private carriers. Residents who do not are subject to fines. Yet most knowledgeable followers of health care policy have only good things to say about the Dutch system and mostly (though not always) good things to say about the Swiss counterpart.

The Dutch system, in particular, is widely considered among the world’s best and achieves most of the goals liberals in this country want: The insurance is universal and comprehensive, access to care is convenient and easy, the quality of medicine is high.

Cohn argues that if the public option is politically untenable, we should be pushing Congress for insurance regulations similar to the Dutch and Swiss systems. Then we might actually end up with universal health care similar to what they have in The Netherlands and Switzerland. That wouldn’t have been my first choice, but it’s a damn sight better than what we have now But the mandate is essential to that.

Cohn explains why the mandate is essential here, but see also Ezra Klein and Nate Silver. Please read Klein’s and Silver’s arguments before commenting here. I don’t have the time or energy to explain this for you.

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Why I Don’t Want to Be a Senator

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Congress, Health Care, Obama Administration

I don’t know how any one could stand to put up with all the nonsense in the Senate. It wears me out just reading about it. If I were in the chamber itself I would have been driven to throw something at Joe Lieberman’s head by now.

On the other hand — until very recently, news media seemed incapable of publishing anything about Joe Lieberman without calling him “principled.” Those days seem to be over, at least in some places. Ezra Klein responds to some critics who still think Holy Joe has principles. See also “More explanations from Joe Lieberman that don’t make sense.”

Matt Yglesias argues that the flawed and disappointing health care reform bill will still help a lot of people, so I’m inclined to say what the hell. Pass the damn thing. Dragging the fight out further is unlikely to improve it. That doesn’t mean the fight isn’t over, though.

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