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Survey Says…

August 28th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Dave Weigel highlights a GOP health care “survey” that, even by the standards of these sorts of fake fundraising push-polls seems awfully egregious.  Among other things, it suggests that under Obamacare, Republicans will be singled out for inferior treatment or denied care. What actually jumped out at me, though, was another pair of questions:

Do you approve of the Republican plan to give small businesses tax breaks to cover the cost of their employees’ health care insurance?

Over 120 million Americans currently receive health care insurance through their employment. Should this private sector health coverage be preserved in any health care reform plan?

I had thought one thing liberals and conservatives—or at least liberal and conservative health care wonks—were in agreement about is that the employer-based system we have under the status quo, a product of a WWII era quirk in the tax code, is basically indefensible. The main argument is usually about whether it would be better to go toward a more individualized market-based model or a more European-style model with a larger role for government. Obviously, it’s easier to trigger anxiety about deviations from the status quo than to make the case about which kind of change is best—for both parties. Back during the election, John McCain’s own proposal similarly involved reforming the tax code in a way that would push us away from the employer-based system, and folks on the left were quick to jump on this.

Tags: Horse Race Politics · Journalism & the Media



4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 the teeth // Aug 28, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    It’s been pretty clear for the last few months that the mainstream republican stance is: any reform is a (political) loss, at least while we’re out of power.

    For what it’s worth, there’s a very real minority of left-leaning types who believe that a market-based approach to routine care is the way to go, and the big argument there with republican proposals is how much poorer folks ought be subsidized, and what swath of the population is poorer.

  • 2 Doug // Aug 28, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    The standards of those fundraising push-polls are at least that egregious. I used to get them from Denny Hastert all the time and everyone pissed me off until I finally wrote him a letter with my answers and some, um, commentary. What was most astounding is I stopped getting them, which makes me wonder if someone didn’t actually open the envelope.

  • 3 Glen // Aug 29, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I haven’t been following the discussion that closely, but my understanding is that ObamaCare seeks to entrench the current system of employer-provided healthcare. Or at least, that’s what its proponents claim it will do. One opposition argument is that ObamaCare will actually induce employers to drop their insurance and dump their employees into the public option. But the proponents don’t admit that. So I don’t know if it’s really true that the left thinks the employer-based system is bad. If they do, they don’t always admit it.

  • 4 Julian // Aug 30, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Well, the proposal on the table is clearly nobody’s first choice. Like most health care wonks on the left, Obama was formerly an open fan of single-payer, and I don’t think I’ve really heard anyone in that camp make the case that this is no longer a *better idea*, they just don’t think they can get it.