It’s just a matter of time before government takes over health care — unless conservatives master the subject themselves.
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The point is that there are plenty of ways to approach caring for the sick that don’t involve destroying the private health-care market.
WHILE IT STILL NEEDS MORE fleshing out, John McCain’s health-care plan actually goes a long way toward addressing the most egregious problems with the system. His proposal would provide tax credits to individuals and families for purchasing health insurance, thus ending the tax code’s discrimination against the individual market; he would move to allow people to purchase insurance across state lines; and he would improve transparency.
The contrast between the McCain and Obama plans actually provides conservatives with a valuable opportunity to make the case for a free market approach, but it remains to be seen whether McCain himself, who is more comfortable discussing other issues, will dedicate the energy required to sell the American people on his own proposal. Either way, the current political environment is a difficult one for such a proposal, because liberals have spent years dictating the terms of debate.
The road to instituting free market reforms in health care will be a long one, and conservatives have a lot of catching up to do. Gratzer notes that conservatives spent decades laying the groundwork for welfare reform, and several states had to experiment before it was actually achieved in 1996.
At the end of the Maurice Sendak tale, a doctor shakes the lion that ate Pierre, and the boy tumbles out. He is alive and well and has learned a lesson: care. But that’s just a children’s story. If conservatives do not become actively engaged in the health-care debate and soon, there won’t be any second chances. Once the state gets its claws on the remaining segments of the private health-care market, the long-running battle over the size of government will be over — and government will have won.
Philip Klein is a reporter for The American Spectator. This article appears in the July-August 2008 issue of The American Spectator. To subscribe to our monthly print edition, click here.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
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H/T to National Review Online