HA! I forgot about this… Here’s legendary nitwit Chris Matthews berating Alan Grayson not two short months ago about Grayson’s assertion that health care reform would ultimately get passed via reconciliation.
It’s almost as if Matthews has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. Unpossible!
Relatedly, here’s a nice summary by Robert Reich about the philosophical roots of the HCR legislation that was passed last night…
Medicare built on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal notion of government as insurer, with citizens making payments to government, and government paying out benefits. That was the central idea of Social Security, and Medicare piggybacked on Social Security.
Obama’s legislation comes from an alternative idea, begun under the Eisenhower administration and developed under Nixon, of a market for health care based on private insurers and employers. Eisenhower locked in the tax break for employee health benefits; Nixon pushed prepaid, competing health plans, and urged a requirement that employers cover their employees. Obama applies Nixon’s idea and takes it a step further by requiring all Americans to carry health insurance, and giving subsidies to those who need it.
So don’t believe anyone who says Obama’s health care legislation marks a swing of the pendulum back toward the Great Society and the New Deal. Obama’s health bill is a very conservative piece of legislation, building on a Republican rather than a New Deal foundation. The New Deal foundation would have offered Medicare to all Americans or, at the very least, featured a public insurance option.
I’m not posting this in order to be (too) cynical about the new legislation. As Reich notes, the larger political significance is the rebuke of Reaganism, which I can fully appreciate. But it’s not nearly enough, which is why it is so critical that Grayson continues to push Medicare For All.