Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Question?

Is "health insurance reform" failing because the plan "is too complex" or "doesn't make sense"?!

According to Robert Reich, FDR once summed up his unwilligness to pursue national healthcare as part of the New Deal by saying, "I just cannot explain it." Reich believes that (some of) the problems Dems have faced arise as the consequence of the existing plan lacking simple, self-evident entitlements and reforms as well as effective moral/psychological frames for these entitlements and reforms.

My question is, what does this insight actually illuminate? Aren't the institutional (but also individual, emotional) responses against health insurance reform - let alone the tinkering with the foundational architecture of the public/private division of labor in our political economy - pretty much inevitable in our liberal (-capitalist) democracy?

Isn't it a truism of US democracy that the politics of public/private are rife in all of our great debates, but that these politics always end up weirdly refracted through, translated by and spoken in caricature-ish, moralistic terms of nation, race, identity and catastrophe? Wouldn't that happen regardless of whether or not the President's health insurance plan was less than 140 characters?

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