As Morgen Richmond does, I like Ezra Klein. He’s unmistakably and unapologetically liberal, but he’s honest, and on the couple of occasions I’ve chatted with him, a friendly and reasonable guy. Even when he disagrees with me, he generally gives me credit for not being disingenuous as well, and argues on facts rather than strawmen. That’s why when Morgen put up this video from 2008 at Verum Serum, I give Ezra credit for explaining explicitly what the “public plan” in ObamaCare is — a “sneaky” stalking horse for single-payer:
Got that? Everything conservatives have been saying about the public plan is true, and that’s just fine with Ezra. He’d like to throw tens of thousands of people out of work and collapse an entire industry, one that satisfies over 80% of its clients mind you, because he doesn’t care for it. So instead of actually arguing for its elimination, as Ezra does more honestly than most of his colleagues, they trot out a “public plan” that Ezra concedes will do covertly what he wants to do overtly.
As far as disagreeing with me, though, Ezra is just a little less honest this time:
There’s really no reason to think Ed Morrissey actually believes Obama is proposing a health system in which people are legally barred from purchasing care beyond what their insurers would provide. Ed’s a smart guy. He follows politics. And he certainly doesn’t offer any evidence for such a view. But his post takes it as a given that that is in fact what Obama is proposing.
So it was OK for progressives to deduce in 2008 that Obama’s health-care proposals were really just stalking horses for eliminating private insurance altogether, but Ezra’s puzzled when conservatives deduce it in 2009? Plus, if Obama (or Ezra) got to wipe insurance companies out with the stroke of a pen or through a stalking-horse strategy of a “public plan,” then the only people who could take advantage of what would be left of private care would be … who? Those wealthy enough to pay full price out of pocket. Well, that’s certainly egalitarian!
Besides, Obama seems to at least appreciate locking out private transactions altogether, and that’s not a terribly difficult deduction, either. If you accept Ezra’s view (and mine) that the public plan is a stalking horse for single payer, then that’s Step 1. Step 2 would be Obama’s praise for the Canadian system, which does bar private insurance, and whose providers are all in the government system. Canadians who want private care have to leave … and come to the United States. And that makes his stated intent to use his money to get what he would wind up denying most other Americans very hypocritical.