Stupid Liberal Argument on Health Care, or It’s All Hillary’s Fault

I’ve had plenty of posts debunking stupid conservative arguments on health care, so it is only fair that I do the same when encountering a really stupid liberal argument. Ezra Klein shows that we are worse off now than we were in 1994, which is fine to point out , but the problem is where he goes with this. Klein bothers to defend HillaryCare, and even shows that Democracy Corps once bothered with the same question.

The implication is that we are in this bad situation because HillaryCare was not passed. The fact that we are worse off now than we are in 1994 does not necessarily mean that HillaryCare was a good response, and it doesn’t even prove that we would be better off now if it had passed.

Klein’s argument assumes not only that HillaryCare was a good solution but that it was the only solution. If we are worse off now, it makes just as much sense to blame Hillary as to retroactively argue that she was right and we should have passed her plan.

Hillary Clinton’s approach was to argue that  it would be her plan or nothing, and therefore we got nothing. She even got Bill to agree to threaten a veto should Congress pass something short of her plan, which is a ridiculous use of the veto. The purpose of a veto is to prevent bad legislation, not to block legislation because Congress doesn’t do exactly what your wife wants.

HillaryCare was a bad plan which resulted not only in the rejection of the plan but the loss of Congress by the Democrats for a generation along with any hopes at real health care reform. Hillary Clinton’s philosophy of government is quite different than what many of us who supported Obama over Clinton hope to see. Obama’s ideas come closer to Cass Sunstein’s philosophy of “libertarian paternalism.” If Obama will hopefully use government to “nudge” people to do the right thing while leaving them with free choice, Hillary Clinton’s ideas are based upon the philosophy of doing everything exactly as she says while outright rejecting the importance of freedom.

The real reason I am protesting stupid liberal arguments such as this one is not entirely to provide balance to criticizing stupid conservative arguments but because it is counterproductive. Backing bad plans which would be unacceptable to a majority of American voters, whether it is HillaryCare  or the British model, only provides more ammunition for those who hope to block any plan. For those who lack any insurance coverage either plan would be seen as an improvement, but a considerable number of Americans are currently happy with their current health plans. Any reform plan, if it has a chance at being accepted, must respect this while also seeking to assist those who lack adequate health care coverage. Imposing a bad plan upon all to help some is neither a politically viable or particularly ethical strategy.

Rather than drag up bad plans, it would make far more sense for liberal advocates of health care reform to push plans which avoid the mistakes of past plans. Rather than dragging back HillaryCare I’d rather see Ezra devote the space on his blog to more important topics such as supporting current plans for health care reform or pushing for increased pay for primary care physicians.

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