Morgen on June 22, 2009 at 1:05 pm
In the battle for public opinion at least, this is a critical week for healthcare reform. ABC has dedicated much of their national programming this coming Wednesday (June 24) to the Administration’s healthcare reform agenda, including an interview with the President on Good Morning America, and a Primetime special which will be broadcast directly from the White House. It is also no coincidence that a highly suspect CBS/NY Times poll was released over the weekend which ostensibly demonstrates that 72% of Americans are in favor of the inclusion of some sort of public plan. In fact, the release of this poll appears to be an orchestrated media campaign to demonstrate support for the public plan, as demonstrated by this Google news search for today. (Check out this post by Karl at Hot Air for a quick run-down on the dubious nature of the CBS/NY Times poll).
However, in truth there is probably more popular support for the idea of a public plan than we would like to believe (though I am certain it is not even close to 72%). And really this should come as no surprise given that most major media outlets have consistently presented only the Administration’s spurious position that the public plan is necessary in order to reduce costs and provide more “choice” and “competition” in the market. Of course the likelihood of ABC seriously challenging the President on this assertion on Wednesday is next to nil. So it is imperative for all of us to continue to make this case on blogs, message boards, and any public forum available to us. Collectively we can make a difference in educating the public and shaping the debate over this.
Sorry for the long lead-in. If you couldn’t tell based on the headline of this post, I uncovered some new fodder to help demonstrate that the Democrats’ ultimate agenda is something more nefarious than injecting a little extra capitalism into the insurance market. Political debates often make for strange bedfellows, and the liberal advocacy group Single Payer Action has been ambushing leading Democrats challenging them on why they do not overtly support single-payer reform. They managed to catch Rahm Emanuel coming out of a press conference last week. Watch what he has to say (pay close attention to the question he is responding to):
The objective is what’s important, it’s not the means.
Leave it to Rahm Emanuel to distill what Rep. Schakowsky had to say in her now infamous “this is not a principled fight” rant into such a usable little sound-byte. In case there were any remaining doubts, take it from the President’s Chief of Staff: the objective of healthcare reform is to ultimately end up with a single-payer system. By any means possible. After all, why let a good crisis go to waste?
Update: After watching this video a few times I realized that the “objective” Emanuel was referring to could very well be the Administration’s stated objectives of universal coverage and lowering overall healthcare costs. So although I probably overreached a little, I don’t doubt for a second that Emanuel shares many of the same goals of hardcore single-payer advocates. To back this up, take a look at what Emanuel had to say in 2007 at a Congressional forum on healthcare sponsored by John Conyers, the leading Congressional advocate for single-payer:
Now, I’m for changing course from an employer-based system into one that has the public policy, the public initiatives of care from the government is more involved in the delivery and health care, because that’s the only way you can control costs. And if you can control costs, you can deliver universal coverage and it is fundamental.
You can read the full text of Emanuel’s comments here. It provides some interesting insight into the evolution of the Democrats’ arguments and strategy for healthcare reform. (For example, according to Emanuel passing the SCHIP legislation was “spring training” for the universal healthcare battle we are in the midst of now.) The one thing there should be no doubt on is that the public plan is part of an elaborate and long-planned strategy to market and implement liberal health reform legislation. Whether Emanuel meant it this way or not, the Administration will absolutely use whatever means they can to move this agenda forward.