The Long-Term Politics of Health Care (Or Why We Shouldn't Compromise)

Rick Perlstein has written the sort of column I wish more progressives would write, arguing that the foundation of a new Democratic majority is universal health care.


No regular readers will be surprised to see me agreeing with that statement.  But what's under it also deserves some consideration.  If you had to list the government programs Republicans couldn't touch, what would you say? 

Social Security, certainly.  Medicare too.  Don't fuck with Medicare.  I wouldn't relish being the Republican who tries to eliminate unemployment insurance.  But that's really it.  Medicaid survives more on being mixed-up with Medicare than on any particular concern for the poor.  Welfare, well, you saw what happened to welfare.

There's a lesson here, and it's not hard.  Broad-based entitlement programs are good for Democrats.  Narrow ones aren't.  Welfare, Medicaid -- those are for the poor.  I won't need them.  I work hard and the boss likes me.  I'll be fine.  But Social Security?  That's mine.  Medicare -- that too.  Unemployment insurance?  Well, the company could go out of business.  And so forth.