Ed Morrissey vs. Ezra Klein: A larger lesson of Obamacare
posted at 8:25 am on June 29, 2009 by Karl
Blogger spats are often a bit “inside baseball,” but occasionally, such spats may shed light on a bigger issue.
Verum Serum reports on such a spat between HotAir’s Ed Morrissey and the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, ostensibly over whether Klein believes the “public plan” Pres. Obama would like to see as part of healthcare reform is a “sneaky” Leftist strategy for moving the US towards single-payer health care. It seems to me that Verum Serum has the videos (of both Klein and his fellow travelers), as well as the American Prospect article in which Klein referred to the public plan strategy as “single payer by stealth,” to show that Ed was not out of line in drawing the inference he did, especially given the nature of Klein’s continuing support for a public plan:
This would be like Medicare for the rest of us. It could throw the federal government’s weight around. It could negotiate deep discounts with providers. It could muscle its way into networks. Outside groups like the Commonwealth Fund estimate that it would save the average consumer 20 percent to 30 percent. That would give it a massive competitive advantage over private insurers, and would probably result in tens of millions of Americans dropping their current coverage and entering the public plan to save money. A variant of this was in the draft of Ted Kennedy’s bill that was leaked last week.
As someone who thinks cost control and efficiency are important in health reform, I’m most interested in the strong public plan. Folks who are more interested in preserving something that looks like the current private insurance market tend to fall behind the trigger public plan, largely under the theory that it would be pretty much the same as no public plan at all.
Given the extent to which Medicare dominates its market, Klein’s support for “Medicare for the rest of us” is rather telling.
Moreover, it is not difficult to figure out why Klein would have his backpedal in motion. Pres. Obama has declared, “[W]hen you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this: They’re not telling the truth.” Pres. Obama has always been at war with Eastasia, just as he has always supported the protesters in Iran, and so people like Klein take up the party line.
The dispute is of larger interest because, even as Klein denies that a public plan is a sneaky Leftist strategy, he is blogging the sneaky Leftist strategy to get the public plan into the final version of Obamacare. Klein believes that as long as the Senate passes some healthcare reform bill, it will return from the House-Senate conference with a public plan, at which point moderate Democrats will be strongarmed into allowing a vote. Klein may overestimate the degree to which Senators will be willing to cross their voters and donors for the sake of party unity, but maybe not. Either way, everyone right of center owes Klein a debt for flagging sneaky Leftist strategies on healthcare before they are a fait accompli.