Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Judo Politics: a way to get all kids insured

Intermission note: Before continuing to give my second part -- this time about some craziness on the left -- I want to say this about Health Care

It appears that President Obama may have to retreat from the "public option" in his effort to achieve some Health Care Reform, this year. It may surprise you to learn that I approve of this jiu jitsu move.

What, you think this is the only battle in this fight? The "only chance?" That kind of impatience ruined Hillary's over-reach in 93 and torpedoed her husband's presidency. Pragmatists prefer incrementalism.

I say, let the insurance companies crow over a "victory" that substantially changes the health insurance marketplace for the better, drives competition, but leaves out a government -run system to take up the slack where people cannot get policies by private means.

Why? Because a man as smart as Obama knows that a multi-step judo move works better than one big sumo charge. Once he has his market reforms in place, he can then do something simple, that would undercut the for-profits and really force them to the negotiating table.

Call for a followup bill that simply puts all american children under Medicare.

The reasoning is simple and implacable -- if old people deserve it, so do their equally vulnerable grandchildren.

Put it just that way, starkly and simply. A bill that could go on one page of paper. One that needs no extensive argument or amending. Vote now: Is this a good idea or not? Yea or nay. Most would not dare oppose it.

Remove forty million Americans, in a shot, from the rolls of the for-profits, and you'll get their attention, all right. Next, threaten to raise the cutoff age from 18 to 21... then 25... and watch how quickly they come to the negotiating table.

Ah, judo.


Yes, some of you have heard this idea, many times before. But its simplicity bears repeating.

Note: poor kids are already getting government health benefits under SCHIP -- though in a far more complex way. Hence, this change would not be a huge new expense. But it would simplify matters greatly.

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