For those who don’t know, Yglesias, Klein and Silver are young, smart, successful, 'progressive' bloggers. I admit to identifying with them somewhat: I’m about their age, smart too, and lean left. (Hey Matt – we both got a philosophy degree from an Ivy!)
All three have filled the commentary void in the wake of the kinda-sorta Whitehouse walk-back on the public option with a qualified defense a healthcare bill w/out a public option. It won’t be perfect they say, but it’ll cover everyone, provide subsidies, and protect against caps, discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, etc.
I won’t accuse any of these gentleman of selling out, but they’re not as down as I thought they were. They’re not strong progressives and that’s what the country needs. I guess I’ll have to glom onto some other whipper-snappers who write intelligent commentary.
Meantime, this is a break-up and here’s my grievances.
First, you’re excusing a pre-emptive surrender by the admin. on what was already a compromised bill. Strong progressives wouldn't gloss over the downsides of caving into the insurance lobby, especially to gut a bill with a supermajority of Ds, a popular president, popular support for a public option, the Pharmaceuticals already on board, etc.
In your attempts to be ‘realistic’ or in the know, you’ve either become cynics or appeasers. Either way you’re a disappointment and I don’t think you understand what your role should be in the public discourse.
Second, you haven’t fully considered the costs of not addressing costs.
-- In a bill w/out a public option but many mandates there isn't much to curb premiums from rising at even faster rates. And why shouldn’t they given that the laws will remove caps, recissions, etc. Were you expecting the healthcare industry to reduce their medical loss ratios solely because of increased private competition? You were?
-- If a bill passes w/out a public option, the government is going to be subsidizing solely private care for millions.
-- In short, expanded coverage w/out a pubic option probably means just what opponents to progressivism say about all government plans – they result in exploding expenditures and unsustainable deficits.
3rd and most importantly, you’ve simply missed out on the larger progressive narrative as it applies to healthcare. The for-profit structure currently aggregates wealth into the hands of a few. The few in turn buy the government that is supposed to regulate them. Cf. the last 30 yrs. in over ½ the sectors of the US economy.
Have you forgotten how this works? Do you remember when Rs staffed regulatory bodies with industry hacks, as the SEC was staffed with accounting lobbyists under Bush? Laws on the books are not enough.
Do you remember what % of the market Microsoft controlled when the Bush admin. dropped its anti-trust litigation? Laws on the books won't stop consolidation.
(And not to let the Ds off the hook: my lesson the past 20 yrs. is that the government works very poorly under D admins and can be downright disfunctional under the Rs.)
While this has been a problem with respect to other sectors, it is nothing short of an emergency with respect to healthcare.
You bastards, you've even encouraged Ds to settle for a bill w/out non-profit co-ops.
So let me try once again in cased you missed it -- the public option was supposed to be a strike at the heart of the for-profit healthcare structure. Instead of worrying about how to please Wall Street investors by increasing medical loss ratios and paying teams of corporate lawyers to invent ways of circumventing regulations for providing coverage, health insurance co.s were supposed to spend their energies on competing with a not for profit strong public option. This is about changing the incentive structures in a disfunctional industry.
Without such changes, the insurance industry is going to continue corrupting our political institutions in basically the ways you’ve just excused.
I’m sorry we can’t be better friends, but you’re just not as down as I thought you were. Maybe you should get out of DC more often. That town sucks.