The Obama Administration will find a way to blow health care reform yet. Mere Rhetoric notes a report that Obama aides plan to address Tuesday's election defeats by resurrecting Orszagism, the doctrine that health care reform is the way to control the deficit because it will enable the government to "bend the cost curve" down without compromising care. From Josh Gerstein :
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs insisted Wednesday that the White House plans no changes whatsoever in its legislative strategy or agenda as a result of this week’s contests. However, a White House aide told ABC that the administration will seek to bolster moderates by returning to an argument that health care reform will curb the deficit—a talking point Obama aides have de-emphasized in recent months in favor of a focus on making the insurance system more secure and predictable. [E.A.]
If I recall, the White House had"de-emphasized" Orszagism because those who heard the argument tended to fall into roughly two camps: 1)
Voters who thought it was at best pie-in-the-sky
and that the government probably couldn't "bend the curve" over the next two decades--the way it hasn't been able to do with Medicare, for example; and 2)
Voters who thought the government could indeed "bend the curve" and were terrified by the prospect,
because the argument seemed to be that only if the government controlled virtually the entire health system could it
really turn the screws
start denying treatments
initiate a "very difficult democratic conversation"
over which treatments were really cost-effective, including treatments at the end of life. ...
It was only when the Orszagism was in fact de-emphasized (over the summer) that opposition to health care reform stopped its relentless upward rise and actually fell for a brief period . Why go back to the debacle of last Spring ? Vague policyspeak about curve-bending has already, unnecessarily , cost health care reform the support of the elderly. Does Obama want to give reform's opponents the ammo to drive opposition above the 60% line? Go ahead. Make Dick Morris' day . ...
P.S.: I should make it clear that I am in camp #1--I don't think Americans will tolerate draconian, or even semi-draconian, denials of service. As a result I don't think the curve (which is driven mainly by advances in medicine that yield expensive treatments) will be bent. That's why I'm for health care reform. But Orszagism is still lousy politics , because lots of voters will fall into Camp #2. ...
For more: See kf 's extensive fall Orszagism collection . ... 12:06 A.M.