Planned Incompetence Watch

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TPM reports that, “Republicans on the Hill have the audacity to warn that a government-run heath care plan would be like government’s incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina.”

In all honesty, they do have a point: sooner or later, the GOP will be back in control of the federal government.  As they point out, we’ve seen just how negligent at best, criminal at worst, they are when they have to run federal programs whose very existence they ideologically object to.

Despite the obvious snark value here, I’m actually not making a joke; this really is a genuine problem that advocates of health care reform — or any other activity of the federal government besides national security and policing — have to take into account.

If a federal health insurance or health care system is put in place, people who use it are going to depend on it just like they depend on their private health insurance today.  What happens to those people when the politicians in charge of those programs have absolutely zero interest in them, or actively want them to fail?

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2 Responses to “Planned Incompetence Watch”

  1. jazzbumpa Says:

    Well, I recently started receiving social security, and that seems to be working just fine. Also, isn’t medicare working out rather well? And all this after 8 years of Shrub’s Repugnicant insanity.

    The Katrina analogy is not apt. An established program that works just needs to keep chugging along. (i.e – they keep their filthy hands off.) A tragic emergency requires an extraordinary response – or at least some one in charge who give’s a rats ass.

  2. urbino Says:

    I hear ya on Social Security, jb, but I wonder how comparable the situations actually are.

    SS grew up under extremely favorable circumstances — the president who invented it remained president for so long that the program was thoroughly entrenched before anybody else took the office; and even then it was FDR’s VP for another 8 years. And even after that no president came along who really wanted to do away with it until 55 years later. Ike, Nixon, Ford, and even Reagan steered clear. Same for the first Bush. Throw in the Democratic domination of congress for 40 years, and you’ve got a pretty sweet setup for SS.

    None of that’s going to be the case for health care.

    Term limits make another FDR impossible; nor do I see another Frances Perkins or Harry Hopkins anywhere in the Obama administration to get the thing organized and sturdily on its feet in short order. Unless there’s a major tectonic shift, the very next GOP president will be rabidly opposed to it, as will his congressional caucus.

    And the complexity of a health care program dwarfs SS. It’s going to take a lot of years to get it working right. There are going to be opportunities to kill it, if the people controlling the levers want to do it.

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