The Plank

Cringe-inducing Metaphor Of The Day

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Michael F. Cannon describes the universal health care plan passed yesterday by the California State Assembly as

a package of health care reforms that would further kneecap the
taxpayers, march them down to Death Valley, and bury them up to their
necks to be eaten alive by special-interest fire ants.  But perhaps I
understate.

Perhaps. Strangely enough, though, in his post Cannon links to something called the "Anti-Universal Coverage Club Manifesto," which includes the following plank:

If governments must subsidize those who cannot afford medical care,
they should be free to experiment with different types of subsidies
(cash, vouchers, insurance, public clinics & hospitals,
uncompensated care payments, etc.) and tax exemptions, rather than be
forced by a policy of “universal coverage” to subsidize people via
“insurance."

This seems to me to be exactly what the Schwarzenegger plan does: combine a variety of creative, market-friendly ways to make sure poor and sick Californians can get coverage. I can't say I'm surprised Cato doesn't like it, though. The conservative health care strategy works like this: endorse subsidies in theory, since it would seem unacceptably heartless to simply say that people who can't afford medical care shouldn't get it. Then, whenever anybody proposes a plan to actually implement subsidies, vehemently oppose it without offering any alternative plan to expand coverage. (Which is what California Republicans are doing.) In other words, let states experiment--except when they actually do.

--Josh Patashnik

(Photo: Getty Images) 

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