Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Slippery Slope

"Government takeover of health care" is constant refrain from health care reform opponents these days. It is an article of faith that the "public option" in the various bills will lead to the end of the private system and everyone will end up getting their health insurance from the government. Once there's a public option that anyone can join, via the power of the slippery slope, it'll only be matter of time before the takeover is complete.

That reform opponents would have this fear and make this claim is not too surprising. More interestingly, the left, and reform supporters seem to have same expectation. They would really prefer a single payer plan. Obama isn't pushing for one. But through the public option and via the slippery slope we'll get there. Somehow.

Both sides are wrong about the power of the slippery slope. If we've learned anything about the current and historical efforts to reform health care, we have learned that it's not easy to change anything. The status quo is one big boulder. The slope may be slippery, but it's steep and goes uphill.

There is relatively little debate about the text and the implications of the bills themselves. Despite the hopes and fears of of the left and the right, the bills themselves are what's important. That's what we're going to get. And this is good thing...

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