Mike the Mad Biologist

Katrina vanden Heuvel makes a good point about some bad framing in the healthcare debate–the ‘centrists’ aren’t in the center at all:

Even a good regional paper like Louisville’s Courier-Journal– in rightly blasting the Blue Dogs as “deplorable” for being “unable to muster the spine to pay for health care reform with even so innocuous a measure as higher taxes on the richest 1 percent of Americans”–calls them “centrist”.

The danger is that promoting the view that these conservative Democrats are somehow at the center of our politics plays into the hands of those who would like to marginalize progressives as far outside of the mainstream. (And I have no doubt K Street is advising Republicans to constantly refer to their Democratic allies as “moderate” and “centrist”.) It also misrepresents what most Americans want from the government in these times.

As Drew Westen, professor of psychology at Emory University, founder of Westen Strategies, and author of the invaluable The Political Brain, told me: “The average American, according to all available data, has largely moved slightly left of where it was in the Reagan years, and with changing demographics, it will be far left of Reagan and Bush in twenty years. So to call Democrats who are substantially right of the center of the electorate (let alone of their party), like Heath Shuler, ‘moderates,’ is both to misrepresent the center of political gravity in the general electorate and in the Democratic Party.”

How we tell the story of this battle for health care reform matters and will impact whether the battle is won or lost. So-called “centrists” are far from the center of this debate. They are, in fact, out of touch and out of the mainstream — like the rest of their conservative brethren.

Whether the ‘center’ is actually a desirable thing or not is highly questionable: allowing the South to maintain segregation was ‘centrist’ at one point. The center isn’t always correct (or even correct much of the time). But if you are going to claim the mantle of the ‘center’, at the very least, you should not oppose a policy like the public option in healthcare that is supported by three quarters of Americans. That’s not centrist–as vanden Heuvel reminds us, it’s rightwing. And it’s definitely not where the country is.

Comments

  1. #1 JasonTD
    July 26, 2009

    I don’t care whether an idea is left, right, center, up, or down. I care whether it will do what they say it will at a reasonable cost.

    The head of the CBO coming out and saying that the current House proposals will add half a trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. That’s not in the talking points of Democratic leaders on health reform. They argue about how health reform will actually bring down costs and increase coverage at the same time.

    Take this piece by the San Francisco mayor on Huffington Post. He claims that it is proof that “a public plan will create competition, lower the cost of private insurance, and improve care.” But he fails to mention that Healthy San Francisco is not the same as insurance. It is only good in San Francisco city limits. [See this article for a more complete report about this plan]

    The health care system badly needs reform, but the Democratic leadership in congress is not convincing me that they are going to help more than they hurt.

  2. #2 Comrade PhysioProf
    July 26, 2009

    Right-wing oligarchs always lie about everyfuckingthing.

  3. #3 JasonTD
    July 26, 2009

    I don’t care whether an idea is left, right, center, up, or down. I care whether it will do what they say it will at a reasonable cost.

    The head of the CBO coming out and saying that the current House proposals will add half a trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. That’s not in the talking points of Democratic leaders on health reform. They argue about how health reform will actually bring down costs and increase coverage at the same time.

    Take this piece by the San Francisco mayor on Huffington Post. He claims that it is proof that “a public plan will create competition, lower the cost of private insurance, and improve care.” But he fails to mention that Healthy San Francisco is not the same as insurance. It is only good in San Francisco city limits. [See this article for a more complete report about this plan]

    The health care system badly needs reform, but the Democratic leadership in congress is not convincing me that they are going to help more than they hurt.

    P.S. Sorry for the repost, but my last one didn’t seem to go through.

  4. #4 jacksmith
    July 27, 2009

    LEAD, FOLLOW, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY. (Thomas Paine)

    We have the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed world. Conservative estimates are that over 120,000 of you dies each year in America from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don’t die from. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Insured and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies. This is what being 37th in quality of healthcare means.

    I know that many of you are angry and frustrated that REPUBLICANS! In congress are dragging their feet and trying to block TRUE healthcare reform. What republicans want is just a taxpayer bailout of the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry, and the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry. A trillion dollar taxpayer funded private health insurance bailout is all you really get without a robust government-run public option available on day one.

    YOU CANT HAVE AN INSURANCE MANDATE WITHOUT A ROBUST PUBLIC OPTION. MANDATEING PRIVATE FOR PROFIT HEALTH INSURANCE AS YOUR ONLY CHOICE WOULD BE UNETHICAL, CORRUPT, AND MORALLY REPUGNANT. AND PROBABLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL AS WELL.

    These industries have been slaughtering you and your loved ones like cattle for decades for profit. Including members of congress and their families. These REPUBLICANS are FOOLS!

    Republicans and their traitorous allies have been trying to make it look like it’s President Obama’s fault for the delays, and foot dragging. But I think you all know better than that. President Obama inherited one of the worst government catastrophes in American history from these REPUBLICANS! And President Obama has done a brilliant job of turning things around, and working his heart out for all of us.

    But Republicans think you are just a bunch of stupid, idiot, cash cows with short memories. Just like they did under the Bush administration when they helped Bush and Cheney rape America and the rest of the World.

    But you don’t have to put up with that. And this is what you can do. The Republicans below will be up for reelection on November 2, 2010. Just a little over 13 months from now. And many of you will be able to vote early. So pick some names and tell their voters that their representatives (by name) are obstructing TRUE healthcare reform. And are sellouts to the insurance and medical lobbyist.

    Ask them to contact their representatives and tell them that they are going to work to throw them out of office on November 2, 2010, if not before by impeachment, or recall elections. Doing this will give you something more to do to make things better in America. And it will help you feel better too.

    There are many resources on the internet that can help you find people to call and contact. For example, many social networking sites can be searched by state, city, or University. Be inventive and creative. I can think of many ways to do this. But be nice. These are your neighbors. And most will want to help.

    I know there are a few democrats that have been trying to obstruct TRUE healthcare reform too. But the main problem is the Bush Republicans. Removing them is the best thing tactically to do. On the other hand. If you can easily replace a democrat obstructionist with a supportive democrat, DO IT!

    You have been AMAZING!!! my people. Don’t loose heart. You knew it wasn’t going to be easy saving the World. :-)

    God Bless You

    jacksmith — Working Class

    I REST MY CASE (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/)

    Republican Senators up for re-election in 2010.

    * Richard Shelby of Alabama
    * Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
    * John McCain of Arizona
    * Mel Martinez of Florida
    * Johnny Isakson of Georgia
    * Mike Crapo of Idaho
    * Chuck Grassley of Iowa
    * Sam Brownback of Kansas
    * Jim Bunning of Kentucky
    * David Vitter of Louisiana
    * Kit Bond of Missouri
    * Judd Gregg of New Hampshire
    * Richard Burr of North Carolina
    * George Voinovich of Ohio
    * Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
    * Jim DeMint of South Carolina
    * John Thune of South Dakota
    * Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
    * Bob Bennett of Utah

  5. #5 JasonTD
    July 27, 2009

    I don’t care whether an idea is left, right, center, up, or down. I care whether it will do what they say it will at a reasonable cost.

    The head of the CBO coming out and saying that the current House proposals will add half a trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. That’s not in the talking points of Democratic leaders on health reform. They argue about how health reform will actually bring down costs and increase coverage at the same time.

    Take this piece by the San Francisco mayor on Huffington Post. He claims that it is proof that “a public plan will create competition, lower the cost of private insurance, and improve care.” But he fails to mention that Healthy San Francisco is not the same as insurance. It is only good in San Francisco city limits. [See this article for a more complete report about this plan]

    The health care system badly needs reform, but the Democratic leadership in congress is not convincing me that they are going to help more than they hurt.

    – I’ve had difficulty with this posting. If there are any problems with it, please email me.

  6. #6 Steve
    July 27, 2009

    If you’re going to nationalize healthcare, you might as well do it *all the way*. The United States already has a quasimilitary Public Health Service, so DRAFT all of the doctors, nurses, paramedics and medical-lab techs, and outlaw the private practice of medicine. If you like the IRS and the TSA, you’ll love the result.

    The big players in the insurance racket isn’t going to allow Congress to break their ricebowl. Congress, hearing increasingly strident complaints from people forced to decide between making this month’s mortgage payment and this month’s medical insurance premium, will have to Do Something. The result, I fear, will be a Frankensteinian mashup of American, British and Soviet healthcare.

  7. #7 Marion Delgado
    July 27, 2009

    Who cares what the delusional “fear” again?

    I fear they’ll drag us back to witch-burning, leeches, and other traditional conservative medical practices, as well as dragging our economy back to feudalism, the only system that’s ever not made them fearful.

    So can I make policy, please, based on MY fears?

  8. #8 HSR601
    July 28, 2009

    A pay for outcome / value payment system, key to the deficit-neutral, might be capable of bringing all groups together.

    Supporters of the agreement say it could save the Medicare System more than $100 billion a year and ‘improve’ care, that means more than $1trillian over a decade, and virtually needs no other resources including tax on the wealthiest. (Please visit http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=820455&catid=391 for detailed infos).

    As much as 30 percent of all health-care spending in the U.S. -some $700 billion a year- may be wasted on tests and treatments that do not improve the health of the recipients,” Thus the remaining $239 billions over a decade do not matter.
    Dr. Armadio at Mayo clinic says, “If we got rid of that stuff, we save a third of all that we spend and that is 2.5 trillion dollars on health care. A third of that and that is 700 billion dollars a year. That covers a lot of uninsured people.”

    1. There is no need for infighting and class conflict.

    2. It can satisfy revenue-neutral raised by the Republicans.

    3. It is able to resolve the regional disparity.

    4. It may bring the private insurers to competition, innovation.

    5. The focus on ‘outcome’ over volume can make the practitioners more accurate and creative based on IT SYSTEM and evidence, while eliminating the additional, unnecessary care that is increasing patients’ pains, frustrations, and possible side-effects.

    6. The desperate people will get back American dream.

    THANK YOU !

  9. #9 william e emba
    July 28, 2009

    If you’re going to nationalize healthcare

    Ah, there’s your complete utter total moronic confusion.

    No one important is advocating nationalizing healthcare here in the USA. The AMA will continue to essentially monopolize the supply of doctors and control medical school sizes, for example, under all plans.

    What’s being discussed is nationalizing health insurance.

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