Right-Wing Casting Principles Aside to Derail Health Reform

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I did a still-relevant BloggingHeads.tv segment last week in which Radley Balko and I were talking about how a great many of the most helpful health care reforms are also the ones that are the least politically feasible:

This, in turn, is related to the point made by Jim Rutenberg and Gardiner Harris in The New York Times, namely that most right-of-center policy experts have little sympathy with the arguments Republican politicians and conservative media stars are using to assail Barack Obama’s health reform plans:

Far from embracing the attacks, many leading conservative health care policy experts said in recent interviews that the dynamic was precluding a more robust real-world debate while making it nearly impossible for them to inject their studied, free-market solutions into the discussions.

And they said the focus on what they consider misleading or secondary issues was getting in the way of real questions about the plan they believed worthy of consideration.

Another way of putting this point would be that the pointy spears of the conservative movement are behaving in a massively dishonest and unprincipled manner—posing as the friends of Medicare and of ever-growing health costs, when the real experts on their own side no perfectly well that this is wrong. But the point isn’t being put that way by the media, so the demagoguery succeeds. Thus, even if reform gets done, it’ll almost certainly get done in a pretty cautious way that leaves the system deeply dysfunctional.