So on the ocean of life we pass, and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice, then darkness again in silence.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), The Theologian’s Tale
April 2, 2012 - The debate over Obamacare is like two ships passing in the night – speaking past each other but not really listening, unwilling to change their respective positions.
This metaphor sprang to mind as I read an exchange (or lack of an exchange) between Michael Mllenson, a Chicage-based progressive health care analyst and journalist, and John Goodman, a Dallas-based conservative economist and president and founder of the National Center for Policy Analysis.
Their respective positions are reflected in the titles of the pieces that set off the exchange.
Millenson: “GOP to Uninsured: (Feel Free to)Drop Dead), The Health Care Blog, April 1, 2012
Goodman: “Is There a Republican Alternative to Obamacare? Health Alert, April 2, 2012
Says the Captains of the Two Ships
Says Millenson: "GOP to the Uninsured: (Feel Free to) Drop Dead." So reads the title Michael Millenson post at the Health Care Blog yesterday. It gets worse:
No Republican presidential candidate has ever presented a serious plan to cover all the uninsured . The difference between Democrats and this generation of Republicans - unfortunately including even the GOP Doctors Caucus - is not at its core a disagreement on what government can legitimately do to help create universal access to health care for the 50 million Americans without it, but whether the goal itself is worth pursuing.
Was Millenson completely asleep (like Rip Van Winkle) during the last election? Does he not read my Wall Street Journal editorials? Does he never visit my blog? Or was this meant to be an April fool's column? John McCain's health plan was more radical and even more progressive than Obama Care. I've never seen any serious health policy wonk deny that. Maybe Millenson doesn't live in a battle ground state. If he did, he would know that the Obama campaign spent more money attacking the McCain health plan during the election than has ever been spent for or against a public policy idea in the history of the republic. In fact, it is probably no exaggeration to say that Obama successfully turned the election into a referendum on the McCain health plan!.
To me Millenson is saying : Only progressives spending other peoples’ money have the compassion, the moral conscience, and the intelligence to cover the uninsured.
To me Goodman is saying: Conservatives offering universal tax credits and setting aside a set amount of money for every citizen have compassion, a moral conscience, and intelligence too.
Let the Supreme Court decide which ship has the rite of passage and who is the right soul at the helm.
Tweet: The GOP and Dems on health care are like two ship captains passing in the night, each with something say, neither listening to one another.