July 24th, 2009

How the Left lost Susan Estrich on health care reform

Susan Estrich is a liberal Democrat through and through. But I’ve noticed that every now and then she writes a column that goes against the party line.

In this recent one she shows a great deal of common sense, speaking for the average person and questioning what’s up with the health care reform bill being pushed so heavily by her party leaders:

So am I for health care reform? Do I support the House bill, whatever it is, or the Obama plan, which may or may not be the same thing?

Not yet. Not until I know what it is. Not until someone convinces me that whatever it is will do more good than harm, both for the country and for my family.

Estrich, like most Americans, likes her health plan. And, like most Americans, she is skeptical of being asked to throw her support to something no one can explain, or even cares to try:

The president is “not familiar” with the bill. No one can explain how it will work yet, as Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., told a contentious town meeting. There are various plans, and negotiations are still in the early stages.

But whatever it is, we should be for it.

Am I missing something?

Well, in my opinion Estrich often misses a lot. But on this particular point she’s right on. This health care reform bill emperor has no clothes—or, what’s even worse, is dressed in smelly old infectious rags.

And then there’s our very own naked emperor President, whose (metaphoric) nudity is being noticed by more and more people every day. Will Estrich ever be one of them?

17 Responses to “How the Left lost Susan Estrich on health care reform”

  1. nyomythus Says:

    Susan Estrich — and she’s kinda cute for an older gal 😀

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    nyomythus: I’ve written about Estich’s cuteness and “older gals” before, here.

    And here’s a bit of assistance to make the comparison:

  3. huxley Says:

    No, Estrich is not missing something.

    I really don’t understand how anyone can accept these complex, unworked-out, unread, umpty-trillion dollar blank checks that Obama and Congress Dems keep insisting, like hyper-pushy salesmen, that we must sign off on right-right-now!

    How can anyone take these efforts seriously? It’s a complete perversion of sensible government.

  4. physicsguy Says:

    I took my daughter to an ENT specialist today. We were talking about how my daughter is also going to a pulmonologist as part of our traking down what is going on with some sports induced asthma. The pulmonologist appointment is 3 months out. The ENT doc went into a rant about how it’s only going to get worse under Obama’s plan, no one will be able to see a specialist; this was one unhappy lady.

    I don’t know how much she was representative of the medical profession, but I thought it was very interesting none the less.

  5. huxley Says:

    Well, at the big press conference the other night Obama pulled about the same maneuver on ENT guys that he did on Officer Crowley: he accused doctors of giving unnecessary tonsilectomies to make a buck.

    Again, Obama is shooting from the hip of progressive stereotypes without knowing the facts and not caring that he doesn’t.

    Who hasn’t Obama offended yet — aside from progressive sacred cows?

    I’m predicting another slide of five or more points in Obama’s Presidential Approval index by the end of August.

  6. Thomass Says:

    huxley Says:

    “Who hasn’t Obama offended yet — aside from progressive sacred cows?”

    In that way, he is a lot like FDR then. Until FDR, there really wasn’t an organized ‘conservative’ movement in the US (re: to counter the progressives). But he managed to piss off so many people one formed around him. 🙂

  7. Jim G. Says:

    Maxed Out Mama, http://maxedoutmama.blogspot.com/
    has read the whole enchilada. (The House plan – 1013 pages)
    Here’s one of the tid bits:
    “The limitation on the incentive payments is that they can’t be more than the total difference between expected cost and actual cost.

    You get it? Under this bill, primary care physicians can literally be paid almost dollar for dollar for every test they don’t prescribe, every medication they don’t prescribe, etc. And there is no consideration of long-term costs – this is a year-by-year thing. If you tell old SoAndSo to go home and take an aspirin when you suspect he is having a stroke instead of sending him to the hospital, you get paid for that cost-saving measure. If some recalcitrant doc does make the mistake of sending old SoAndSo to the emergency room, it doesn’t matter. The physician at the emergency room will be paid to tell old SoAndSo to go home and take an aspirin. (This, by the way, really happened. Said old geezer did duly die very cheaply at home that afternoon for only the cost of an aspirin.)”

    I’m 76 and have been on Medicare for 11 years.I’ve been thinking this might come down the pike. My doctor has kept me as a patient because I was with him before I went on Medicare. He loses money on me. Whenever I have to see him, it is “wham bam thank you mam.” No time for anything but the absolute minimum necessaries. I don’t blame him, the man is running a business as well as serving his patients. What I have seen is that Medicare costs keep increasing, but reimbursements do not because there are more people turning 65 every year. How to slow down the costs? It’s obvious that the most expensive years for medical care are the last five to ten years of our lives. If you can cut that cost, you can save a lot. What better way than to incentivise withholding expensive care at the end?

    This is the elephant in the room that I don’t think they want to talk about.

  8. MikeLL Says:

    huxley: “I’m predicting another slide of five or more points in Obama’s Presidential Approval index by the end of August.”

    I don’t know how many point it will be, but he is definitely sliding down. And according to Bernanke’s recent article in the WSJ, the economy is not going to get better anytime soon.

    So, Democrats will come out of the August recess with an even worse situation than they face right now. Is it possible they could pass this monster of a bill without enormous revisions? Doesn’t seem likely to me.

  9. Oh, bother Says:

    Jim G., elephants are herd animals, and yours has a friend.

    Neo, you’ve expressed interest in the programs about women who didn’t know they were pregnant until right up to the moment of delivery. Have you seen the ones about people who have had various seemingly unrelated symptoms for years, sometimes decades? Some of the patients have multiple hospital admissions as they search for an answer, all very expensive. I have a friend who watches all those shows hoping her own list of weird symptoms will be shown. So far, no luck.

    I’m concerned with the ultimate fate under ObamaCare of people suffering from long-term and mysterious and/or expensive ailments. How many years to find a diagnosis will they get? Or will it be a certain number of consults? Do certain classes of disease or patient get a pass? If so, which and why?

  10. nyomythus Says:

    I can’t pigeonholed myself into a position either — thanks for the videos!!!

  11. nyomythus Says:


  12. J. L. Says:

    Theres a good article by Peggy Noonan on the reasons why Obama and his liberal Dems are losing the healthcare argument:


    The first point she makes is precisely the same one made by Estrich, that the Dem’s healthcare proposals fail to pass the “common sense” test. Heres the money quote:

    I think the plan is being slowed and may well be stopped not by ideology, or even by philosophy in a strict sense, but by simple American common sense. I suspect voters, the past few weeks, have been giving themselves an internal Q-and-A that goes something like this:

    Will whatever health care bill is produced by Congress increase the deficit? “Of course.” Will it mean tax increases? “Of course.” Will it mean new fees or fines? “Probably.” Can I afford it right now? “No, I’m already getting clobbered.” Will it make the marketplace freer and better? “Probably not.” Is our health care system in crisis? “Yeah, it has been for years.” Is it the most pressing crisis right now? “No, the economy is.” Will a health-care bill improve the economy? “I doubt it.”

    Another reason given is that the liberal Dems, in their incredible arrogance, seem to be insisting on provisions which require funding of abortions. This repulses people who may otheriwse have been supportive of socialized healthcare, but for whom abortion is evil. The quote;

    Speaking only and narrowly in political terms, this is so ignorant as to be astounding. A good portion of the support for national health care comes from a sort of European Christian Democrat spirit of community, of “We are all in this together.” This spirit potentially unites Democrats, leftists, some Republicans and GOP populists, the politically unaffiliated and those of whatever view with low incomes. But putting abortion in the mix takes the Christian out of Christian Democrat. It breaks and jangles the coalition, telling those who believe abortion is evil that they not only have to accept its legality but now have to pay for it in a brand new plan, for which they’ll be more highly taxed. This is taking a knife to your own supporters.

    I think that if theres anything that may save us from the worst possibilities of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid administration is the very elitism and arrogance of the liberal left. They seem to be so used to being surrounded by people who believe exactly as they do, that they can’t imagine that they actually have to consider those who don’t. I am so very ready to see these arrogant people fall flat on their faces.

  13. jon baker Says:

    Seeing the comment about abortion above brings to mind a question I have had about this: Will Sex change operations become a right but care for the elderly rationed? I mean, the way things are in this country with Judges, even if it is not in the original bill, it is probably only a matter of time before some judge rules it a medical right. Our “youth obsessed culture” quiet honoring the elderly in many ways. I do not trust it to do the right thing by them.

  14. jon baker Says:

    What I mean by “right” above is that government funds cannot be denied. I am in no way advocating making sex change operations illegal – what I fear is that people will be given the “right” to have them paid for by the government, while other less hip care is rationed- like care for the elderly.

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    Oh bother: you are correct that those people will be very hard hit. In Canada, for example, chronic pain patients are treated very poorly compared to in this country.

  16. Baklava Says:

    I noticed Estrich says some things about her party once in a while.

    It isn’t because she has been having any core-belief change.

    It’s because the party she usually works with are so far off base that she can’t defend their actions to somebody.

    I wonder who that somebody is.

  17. Oh, bother Says:

    What happens to psych patients under rationed care? Do they get lithium no matter what their diagnosis, because it’s cheapest? Are atypical responders treated as poorly as chronic pain patients? Are non-responding psych patients urged to commit suicide? It would be so easy to do — switch ’em over to placebos without their knowledge until they were suicidal, then offer euthanasia and voila! Another one bites the dust, and after giving ‘informed’ consent, to boot.

    Okay, I’ll quit being a smart**s now, but it’s a serious question. I assume infants with genetic diseases would be screened and aborted. Think of Trig Palin and the leftists’ fury that he was permitted to live. But being born with faculties intact is no guarantee one will remain that way. What happens if a child is injured and suffers brain damage? How are people with dementia or intractable mental illness treated under a single payor/rationed healthcare system?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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