I used to think the best sign that liberals had won this debate among the broader public was that Republican senators have begun conceding it. But now I don’t know. A pageant answer becoming headline news because it defied liberal orthodoxy seems like a solid sign too. Is it because Kara McCullough’s black and represents D.C. and therefore isn’t “supposed” to think this way that makes it news? Or is it the fact that she disagreed with the liberal position and was rewarded for it by winning the pageant? Impure thoughts mustn’t be incentivized.
The first query: “Do you think affordable health-care for all U.S. citizens is a right or a privilege and why?”
“I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege,” McCullough responded. “As a government employee, I am granted health-care. And I see firsthand that for one to have health-care, you need to have jobs. So therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we’re given the opportunities to have health-care as well as jobs to all the American citizens worldwide.”
The jobs part of that answer may be more of an affront to Democrats than the “privilege” part. One of the selling points of ObamaCare in 2010 was that it would end “job lock” — supposedly. Not until health insurance is decoupled from employment can people truly be free, etc etc. In practice, if you’re staring at a potential $12,000 deductible for an exchange plan, it might make financial sense to not only cling to your job but to take a pay cut in order to hang on to that sweet, sweet employer-provided insurance. But really, we’re in the post-ObamaCare phase of American health-care reform now, on both sides: Conservatives are scrambling to patch together something, anything, that replaces the status quo while liberals see an opportunity to shove the country towards single-payer. There’s plenty of support for it out there too, and not just on the left. If Americans don’t yet think health care is a right, it seems safe to conclude that most think it should be.
I was surprised that I couldn’t find a recent poll squarely on point, but this one taken by Pew in January is close. This is a proxy for the right/privilege question, I think.
Little bit of equivocation there during the tea-party era, when the backlash to ObamaCare briefly pushed the right towards a stronger form of small-government conservatism, but that’s over now. Exit question: How long before McCullough, under heavy media pressure and after being savaged on social media, formally renounces her health-care position and adopts the liberal line to spare herself further aggravation?