The best political weapon opponents of health care reform seem to have is scaring senior citizens about the idea that Democrats are planning to cut their Medicare benefits. This, of course, leads to some ideological dissonance since Medicare is exactly the kind of Canadian-style government-run insurance option (in Canada’ they call their government-run insurance “Medicare”) that conservatives claim will lead inexorably to disaster. So on Monday, RNC Chair Michael Steele is Medicare’s greatest defender but on Tuesday it’s a disaster he wants to see eliminated:
Steele’s a buffoon but his incoherence is perfectly reflective of a larger conservative incoherence. The preferred argument against the government paying for your health care is that in order to control costs the government might start limiting the quantity of care that it’s willing to pay for. This is the dread so-called “rationing.” The obvious solution to the rationing problem, were it to arise, would be to make taxes higher and spend more money. But instead the conservative pseudo-solution to the rationing problem is to have the government pay for nothing at all. You’d get a ration of zero. Instead of the risk of the government coming between you and your doctor, you just won’t be able to afford to see the doctor.