The Right’s Health Care Incoherence


Today, Barack Obama offered a recess appointment to the widely respected Donald Berwick to head up Medicare, causing Mitch McConnell and other key GOP leaders to freak out. The attacks on Berwick are wildly unfair, but they also reflect the core incoherence of today’s conservative movement on the subject of health care policy.

Sarah Palin summed things up with a pithy tweet:

SarahPalinUSA: Press Corps-pls do your job as Obama sneaks in Berwick appt;pls cover his mission:socialized healthcare&rationing based on”quality of life”

You have it right there. Conservatives are against “socialized health care” (i.e., the public financing of health care services) and they’re also against “rationing” (i.e., limits on the availability of public financing of health care services). Their position is that whoever’s already been granted socialized medicine—i.e., old people—are entitled to have an infinite quantity of funds spent on their health care services. At the same time, they deem it intolerable for the government to provide health care to anyone else, since to provide it in unlimited quantities would be unaffordable. It’s as if we said we ought to ban everyone under the age of 65 from the library, because if we let them in we’ll have to “ration” the books by asking that they be returned in a timely manner.]

Then on top of all this, the very same politicians complain that the deficit is too high and taxes are too high.