Barack Obama's selection of Tom Daschle as Health and Human Services Secretary, as well as "health reform czar," signals that the incoming president is serious about passing comprehensive healthcare reform. Over at the think tank Cato, Michael Cannon warns that blocking any such legislation is vital for the GOP's survival (h/t Kos):
Ditto Baucus' health plan. And Kennedy's. And Wyden's.
Why? Norman Markowitz, a contributing editor at PoliticalAffairs.net (motto: "Marxist Thought Online"), makes an interesting point about how making citizens dependent on the government for their medical care can change the fates of political parties:
A "single payer" national health system - known as "socialized medicine" in the rest of the developed world - should be an essential part of the change that the core constituencies which elected Obama desperately need. Britain serves as an important political lesson for strategists. After the Labor Party established the National Health Service after World War II, supposedly conservative workers and low-income people under religious and other influences who tended to support the Conservatives were much more likely to vote for the Labor Party...
James Pethokoukis, at U.S. News and World Report, draws the same conclusion as Cannon does from Markowitz's analysis of how universal healthcare changed the political dynamic in Britain:
The GOP strategist had been joking about the upcoming presidential election and giving his humorous assessments of the candidates. Then he suddenly cut out the schtick and got scary serious. "Let me tell you something, if Democrats take the White House and pass a big-government healthcare plan, that's it. Game over. Government will dominate the economy like it does in Europe. Conservatives will spend the rest of their lives trying to turn things around and they will fail..."
...Recently, I stumbled across this analysis of how nationalized healthcare in Great Britain affected the political environment there. As Norman Markowitz in Political Affairs, a journal of "Marxist thought," puts it: "After the Labor Party established the National Health Service after World War II, supposedly conservative workers and low-income people under religious and other influences who tended to support the Conservatives were much more likely to vote for the Labor Party when health care, social welfare, education and pro-working class policies were enacted by labor-supported governments."
Passing Obamacare would be like performing exactly the opposite function of turning people into investors. Whereas the Investor Class is more conservative than the rest of America, creating the Obamacare Class would pull America to the left. Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute, who first found that wonderful Markowitz quote, puts it succinctly in a recent blog post: "Blocking Obama's health plan is key to the GOP's survival."