Just as a state income tax is the holy grail for Washington State Democrats, a guiding principle according to their platform, so too is government-run healthcare – socialized medicine – for national Democrats like Bill Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich. In language that you hear more often in Berkeley, on the University of California campus where he is now a professor, Reich lays out what is (in his mind) an obvious case:
“The real choice in the future is either a hugely expensive, for-profit oligopoly with the market power to charge high prices, even to healthy people, and to stop insuring sick people, or a government-run single payer system — such as those in place in almost every other advanced economy — dedicated to lower premiums and better care for everyone.”
That’s right, the tragedy to Democrats like Reich (and soon-to-be-former Washington Congressman Jim McDermott) is that people get to choose their own doctor, and make their own healthcare decisions – what he calls a “for-profit oligopoly” – and not let government dictate to Americans how they will get their health insurance.
To Reich, the tragedy of the liberals’ last step towards socialized medicine – Obamacare – is not that it’s failing, but that it isn’t moving the country fast enough to having government in charge of all of the healthcare industry. As he wrote in the Seattle Times, “The problem isn’t Obamacare per se. It lies in the structure of private markets for health insurance that creates powerful incentives to avoid sick people and attract healthy ones. Obamacare is just making this structural problem more obvious.”
Making problems more obvious is certainly a trademark of Obamacare, but whether its failure will force Americans to take over the entire healthcare system certainly remains to be seen, despite Democrats’ best efforts.