IT'S ALL RELATIVE....

IT'S ALL RELATIVE. It's probably inevitable, but this sort of thing irritates me. From The Economist's review of Bruce Reed and Rahm Emanuel's The Plan: Big Ideas for America:

If the system is made more efficient, Mr Emanuel thinks coverage can be extended to all American children. But he concedes that a nation as individualistic as America will probably never accept a European-style national health service�and he should know, having worked on Hillary Clinton's doomed health project in the 1990s. He argues, however, that maybe, some day, every American might receive a voucher for basic health services from the insurer of his or her choice.

How interesting -- Emanuel dismisses the chances for a universal health system, but leaves open the option for an absurdly complicated voucher scheme, precisely the sort offered up by his brother, the bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel, in The Washington Monthly awhile back (a well-intentioned but misguided effort that I took on here). On that note, all those who occasionally speculate about Emanuel's fitness for Speaker of the House should take this statement very seriously: He does not believe in any sort of coherent national health care system. On the bright side, his family values seem strong.

Incidentally, I've flipped through The Plan a bit, and I doubt I've ever seen a book with a subtitle so deeply misleading. This is warmed-over, second term Clintonism at its incrementialist. I'm one of those people who get excited over policy papers, and even I wanted to cry. The typical chapter would mention an awesome Big Idea, then decide it's politically unfeasible, and promise to push 1/10th the policy but with More! Awesome! Market! Mechanisms!

Emanuel Family Fun Fact: Did you know the third Emanuel brother is Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel, also known as the inspiration for Ari Gold on Entourage?

--Ezra Klein

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