Betsy McCaughey

How to Survive the ObamaCare Apocalypse

Conservative book publishing has a new obsession

Conservative book publishing has a new favorite product: American Care Act survival guides.


Here is my latest column for Kaiser Health News: Two weeks ago, before a lower federal judge in Florida declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, another relatively obscure government figure generated news about health care reform.


The single most popular health care idea emanating from the right is to allow Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines. What a stupid idea, making people buy insurance only within their own state! Here's fabulist Betsy McCaughey making the case in a Wall Street Journal op-ed: Both parties should agree to liberate consumers to buy insurance outside their own state. A healthy 25-year-old New Yorker could cut his costs by two-thirds if permitted to shop on and buy coverage in another state. Now, think about this for a minute.


The Doctor is In

David A. Bell is the dean of faculty and Mellon Professor in the Humanities at John Hopkins University's Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Conservative talk radio often feels like a strange alternate universe, and never more than when the guest of honor is Doctor Betsy McCaughey, who fielded respectful questions from my local Baltimore Limbaugh-wannabes for fifteen minutes this morning (they neglected to mention that her doctorate is in American History, not medicine).


And there it is: Fourteeen votes for the Baucus bill, nine against. Maine Republican Olympia Snowe joined the entire Democratic delegation, including Blanche Lincoln, Jay Rockfeller, and Ron Wyden, the Democrats most likely to defect. Just a few weeks ago, the survival of health care reform seemed seriously in doubt. Town halls were turning into riots, Betsy McCaughey was running amok, and President Obama's popularity ratings were sinking. Putting together fifty, let alone sixty, votes for health reform seemed like an awfully tall order. It's still not a done deal.


The biggest story in health care reform this year has not been the town hall meetings, or President Obama’s big speech on health care. It’s that the Senate Democrats have decided they’re going to pass a bill. You just haven’t heard much about this story because it’s mostly taken place behind closed doors. (Click here to read Michelle Cottle's devastating and definitive take on health care reform scourge Betsy McCaughey.) Yesterday’s Roll Call has some details.


In the health care debate, there is no escape from Betsy McCaughey. In 1994, the tenacious policy wonk wrote an inaccurate TNR piece that killed Hillarycare; today she's the originator of the "death panels." But there's much, much more. As Michelle Cottle explains in her new profile of McCaughey, her rise from obscurity to the lieutenant governorship of New York was marked by sexual politics and class resentment befitting an East Coast version of Sarah Palin. Click through this slideshow for a history of the many lives of Betsy McCaughey.

The Never-Ending Lunacy of Betsy McCaughey, by Michelle Cottle Did the Senate Just Kill a Crucial Ingredient of Health Care Reform? by Jonathan Cohn How Marrying Marilyn Monroe Ruined Arthur Miller’s Genius, by Adam Kirsch Dionne: Should Obama Let Afghanistan Trample His Domestic Agenda? by E.J. Dionne Jr. From Maverick to Mothball: What’s Happened to John McCain Since 2008? by Jesse Zwick The Shabby Don Who Embodied Old Oxford Culture, by G.W. Bowersock Peretz: From Chicago to Tehran, Is Obama Being Blinded by His Own Narcissism?


No Exit

The never-ending lunacy of Betsy McCaughey.


Bottom Line

We’ve heard Glenn Beck’s rants on Fox and read Sarah Palin’s posts on Facebook. We’ve watched LaRouche supporters disrupt town hall meetings and seen teabaggers descend upon Washington. We’ve talked about immigrants, abortion, and death panels--and listened to a woman named Betsy McCaughey explain why reform will mean pulling the plug on grandma.    But, at the end of the day, the central challenge in crafting health care reform remains exactly what it’s always been: Coming up with the money to pay for it.