04/13/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

On Health Care, For It Before They Were Against It

The idea of Republicans bashing anyone for flip-flopping is pretty ridiculous. This is the party that oversaw an explosion in federal spending and earmarking, and is now calling itself the party of fiscal austerity. It is the party that said it was against nation-building, and then led the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. It is the party that says it believes in individual freedom and privacy, and then trampled our civil liberties. Now, as I note in my newest weekly newspaper column, the GOP simultaneously says it is the party of competition -- while trying to thwart competition in the health care industry.

We know that government health care programs are far more efficient than private health insurance. We know that patients in programs like Medicare are far more satisfied with their health care than patients in the private system. And so, we basically know that if private insurance is forced to directly compete with a public health insurance option, private insurance will lose, and lose huge.

Progressives think that's OK -- we believe that if a public health care plan can outcompete private insurance, it should be allowed to do so. Republicans, by contrast, pay rhetorical homage to competition -- while opposing a public health care plan specifically because they fear it will compete with the private insurance option.

It is hypocrisy of the highest order -- and it is motivated by campaign contributions. The health insurance industry has underwritten the GOP for years -- to the point where it can get the party to contradict its most basic philosophies. And that contradiction now threatens the prospect of real health care reform.

Read the whole column here.

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