Another Conservative Supporter Of Health Care Reform

Andrew Sullivan reponded to the post by David Frum which I discussed a couple of days ago. Sullivan agrees with Frum’s criticism of the standard conservative position arguing, “It was one thing to oppose greater government involvement in healthcare in 1993. It is another to do so in 2009.”

After further discussion of why we have no choice but to reform the health care system Sullivan concluded by chastising conservatives for preferring “a permanent populist culture-war” as opposed to proposing “actual solutions to pressing problems.”

If you have guaranteed emergency room care for the uninsured at public expense, you have already effectively socialized medicine. It makes no sense not to bring these people into the insurance system, and to offer less expensive, long-term preventive healthcare. To insist that ideology stand in the way of this piece of compassionate common sense is irresponsible.

I’ve come to accept that the fiscal and economic costs of the current system, however wonderful it has been for a few decades, simply cannot be sustained much longer. I say that not because I have become a socialist, but because the US is on the brink of the kind of bankruptcy it will be very hard to recover from if we do not tackle its source now. Taking measures to avoid fiscal collapse even greater than today’s is a conservative impulse. Letting one sector of the economy destroy the rest of it – and public finances too – is sheer recklessness.

What do you want, GOP? A permanent populist culture-war? Or actual solutions to pressing problems? Let us know when you’ve matured enough to answer that question.


  1. 1
    Tommer says:

    The problem I have with Sullivan is that he (1) doesn’t hold the liberals to the same standards he has for conservatives and (2) never seems to acknowledge when conservatives do propose ideas that have merit.

    In this post he say’s Republicans ought to eliminate the tax employer exemption for medical benefit and offer reforms for medical malpractice suits. Did he not read Charles Krauthammer’s column on Friday that did just that? Does he remember that McCain proposed ending the tax exemption in the 2008 campaign for which he was chastised by the Obama campaign? The vast majority of the Senate Republicans support the bipartisan Widen-Bennett bill that the Democratic majority has no interest in. Perhaps Andrew could read the thoughtful interview with Lindsey Graham on Ezra Klein’s blog. It’s all there for his consumption provided he cares to perform his due diligence.

    Furthermore, I don’t remember Andrew demanding a plan from the Democrats when Bush was trying to reform Social Security back in 2005. Since they never came up with one and only tarred and feathered the Republicans as boogey men, does this mean the Dems can’t be part of the debate when the topic reappears in the future. I must have missed the anti-Democratic ranting on his blog back then.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I haven’t paid enough attention to all of Sullivan’s posts to say if he is treating Democrats any different from Republicans but I seem to recall a lot of criticism from him of both parties for government spending.  It would make sense to have more blog posts criticizing Republicans for government spending as they are the ones who claim to be against it but don’t practice what they preach when in office.

  3. 3
    Mr. Jeffersonian says:

    Andrew Sullivan is probably the only conservative I respect more than Ron Paul. He’s never afraid to bring common sense to the equation, especially when it comes to important issues like this.  I think this country as a whole would be better off if more Republicans took his advice, instead of stubbornly clinging on to failed dogmatic rhetoric that only serves to annoy others.

  4. 4
    Fritz says:

    Why is Andrew Sullivan always designated “conservative”?  I used to only read him sometimes and completely stopped when he went into the whole deranged “Is Sarah really Trig’s mother?” swamp.  Yeah, the original “birther”.
    Sure, he was in favor of the Iraq War.  But the whole New Republic crowd was doing “Win one for Israel” with him, so that doesn’t really count as conservative.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    He’s considered conservative because most of his views are conservative , even if they differ from the brand of conservatism which is now dominating the movement.

    I didn’t like his obsession with Trig, but that has no bearing on his other views. (Even if it turns out he was right about Trig I wouldn’t really care if Sarah Palin was covering up a family scandal. It would make an interesting story, but this wouldn’t be the reason I would oppose her politically.)

  6. 6
    JohnBoyNJ says:

    Its pretty funny that most of the the replies here about an article asking to end the populist culture-war choose only to stoke those fires. We may be too far entrenched as a nation for bi-partisanship. Maybe Obama shouldn’t be so concerned about appeasing anyone “win-win” is not in our political vernacular.

  7. 7
    Infidel753 says:

    Maybe Obama shouldn’t be so concerned about appeasing anyone “win-win” is not in our political vernacular.

    Based on recent comments by both Schumer and Obama, they are starting to get this. There’s not much point in trying to be bipartisan with people whose sole goal seems to be to “Waterloo” you. Rational people, including rational conservatives like Frum, can see that the current Republican opposition has no workable alternative to propose.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    Note that, realizing that they are unlikely to receive many Republican votes on health care reform, the Obama administration has said that bipartisanship includes considering Republican ideas (even if they get no Republican votes).

    I think they knew all along that they would not get much Republican support but wanted to go out of their way to be bipartisanship, making it clear that it is the Republicans who are  refusing to work with the other party.

Leave a comment