Monday, May 04, 2009

Defending the indefensible

It appears that conservatives (yes, I realize that Ben Nelson is a "Democrat") aren't as confident in the free market system as they claim to be. Otherwise, they would have no problem with a public insurance plan competing with private insurance companies. Because if private insurance were as good as its supporters claim, it would be able to compete successfully, right? Private insurance is so good, and a government-run program would be so clearly bad, that the threat to private insurance posed by competition must come from the system itself, right?

Or is it that they realize that private insurance isn't as good as they claim and that government-run insurance is a better option for us, but just don't want us to have that option?

Nelson's problem, he told CQ, is that the public plan would be too attractive and would hurt the private insurance plans. "At the end of the day, the public plan wins the game," Nelson said. Including a public option in a health plan, he said, was a "deal breaker."
Isn't that a kind of protectionism? And aren't free-market types opposed to that sort of thing? Or am I reading too much into conservative opposition to a government-run healthcare program? Could it be as base and simple as elected officials protecting their own electability at the expense of the people they pretend to represent?

The problem, as President Nelson explained, is that the public plan might be too good a deal for Americans, leading them to want to purchase it. And that would just be terrible. Terrible for Ben Nelson, anyway, because his contributions would dry up.
Either way, Nelson's position, and the position of most, if not all, congressional Republicans, is wrong-minded, unethical and, hopefully, futile.

Are there any informed opponents of single-payer healthcare who don't have a financial interest in maintaining the status quo? Are there any informed supporters of the current healthcare system who aren't making money off it?

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