Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Toxic reforms

Toxic reforms

I acknowledge that this blog would not be the first place that you would look to for an analysis of US healthcare reforms.  But still and all, a thought has struck me and, in the dog days of August, each of those has to be treasured.

A lot of ink is being spilled, mostly in ignorance, decrying Obama’s healthcare reform plans as being a way of recreating the NHS in American guise.  The British experience is being flagged up as a classic ‘what not to do’.  Which is fine, as Alex Massie says, because Obama has (so far as I can tell) no intention of recreating the NHS in any form.  But there is a British experience that he ought to look at, when he tries to understand opposition to a policy designed to correct some blatant injustices, and to ensure that all Americans have access to healthcare, not merely those with insurance: the Poll Tax.

Democrats are struggling to understand how such an obviously meritorious idea could possibly be opposed by a sane, rational populace, and have decided that it couldn’t be and that protestors are either mad, bad or Republican activists in disguise.  But the point here, just as with the Poll Tax, is that although the current system (domestic rates/insurance-based healthcare) has a few obvious, and noisy losers any replacement system will also produce losers.  And whereas winners tend to rejoice quietly, losers let their anger be known.  At the moment this is limited to shouty public meetings.  It won’t stop there.

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