Talking About Healthcare, Forevermore

Suderman worries:

Reform won't just mess up our health care system, it will infect our political system; the more our politics and our health care are tied together, the more our political debates will become indistinguishable from our health care debates. They'll become permanently intertwined, going on and on, forever and ever, cable news without end.

Ross adds:

[S]ince the stakes are literally life and death, it stands to reason that the more power the government has to divvy up health care dollars, the more rancorous these debates will get. “Death panels” and “Republicans want you to die quickly” are just the beginning …

I agree.

When you listen to political debates in Britain, every politician is subject to the accusation that they effectively killed some patient who needed some treatment that he or she didn't get in time or ever. Anyone who tries to cut healthcare spending becomes a mass murderer overnight.

The difference, of course, is that the British government does have direct control over these things - because healthcare really is socialized in Britain. In America, under the likely reforms, health insurance companies will bear the overwhelming burden of making such decisions. But that assumes rationality on the part of politicians. We know that in America, on most issues, such rationality always cedes to demagoguery. But equally, the government clearly needs to do something to make the current system less callous and less fiscally insane.