Rod Dreher is one of the few intellectually honest and relatively non-partisan conservatives. He’s willing to call out the wingnuts for their often crazed rhetoric, including the “ZOMG, health care reform is communism/socialism/fascism” nonsense. He says this on the mandate ruling:
A couple of days ago I heard a self-identified Tea Party member interviewed on NPR about the decision, and she was on the brink of tears, saying that freedom in America is over and done with. I suppose I can perfectly well understand the belief that this is a bad ruling — I know people who really do understand health care policy who say this — but some of the reaction from the Right to the decision has been completely hysterical. All the major European democracies have some advanced form of socialized health care. I do not think they are behind the Iron Hospital Gown.
This is obviously true. Universal healthcare is a harbinger of creeping communism or fascism, even if it’s nothing more than subsidized private insurance? Seriously? Canada has genuine nationalized medical care; are they a communist dystopia as a result? Is England? Or Israel? Or every other Western democratic nation, for that matter? Of course not. The fact that the right throws around such deranged bullshit, and that so many of their followers actually believe it, tells you just how out of touch with reality they are. They couldn’t see sanity from Sarah Palin’s house at this point.
Dreher also points out that keeping the old health care system in America is neither practical nor moral:
Anyway, it seems to me, and has for a long time, that the way we handle health care in our country is pretty irrational. I haven’t thought much about it because I’m not the sort of person who has a mind for policy, and, to be honest, I have always had good private insurance through my employer, and haven’t really needed to use it for anything very costly. If I lost my job tomorrow and suddenly didn’t have insurance for my family, and couldn’t afford COBRA (which doesn’t last forever, anyway), I would be consumed by anxiety over the vulnerability my wife and kids would be facing. Again, I suppose they could be treated at the charity hospital if it got that bad, but that is a far from ideal solution.
Besides, what kind of system pays for the poor and uninsured to receive some level of care, but does so partially by indirectly passing on the costs to those with private insurance (via things like the $25 aspirin)? Even though I’m not a policy guy, this doesn’t make sense to me. And, as a practicing Christian, I find it hard to justify a society as well-off as ours tolerating a situation in which so many people lack affordable, decent health care. Back when Congress was debating Obamacare, I was prepared to believe that Obama’s proposal was unacceptable, but it bothered me a lot that the Republicans had nothing to offer in its place. It seemed to me that they were implicitly denying that affordable health care was a problem.
And they are. As Mitch McConnell said on Fox News the other day, millions of uninsured people just “aren’t the issue.” They don’t care. But not caring isn’t just hurting those who lack health insurance, it’s hurting everyone else too. It’s the principal reason why the U.S. spends far more on health care than any other modern nation while getting far less for it, because millions of people going to the hospital only when they get seriously ill, without the ability to pay for it, costs far more than having those people get consistent and preventative health care from a family doctor. I don’t think what we ended up with in the bill Obama signed is a particularly good solution to that problem, but it’s at least a step in the right direction. The Republicans clearly don’t care to fix the problem at all.