ESQ: It seems pretty obvious. They save money. So why are businesses so completely resistant to this?
HD: They’re not. Some businesses — and the Chamber of Commerce — are resistant because they’re ideological. They are part of the right wing. Then there are lots of businesses that aren’t particularly ideological but genuinely believe that if they keep doing the same thing, they’ll somehow get a different outcome. That’s human nature. They think they can manage health-care costs even though it’s been 40 years since any of them ever have. That’s why I think Obama’s plan is so great: If you like what you have, you can keep it.
ESQ: Speaking of the Obama plan, you’re even stronger than he has been lately in support of the public plan. You say that without it, it’s not reform.
HD: It’s not. It’s a waste of time. Don’t pretend you’re going to do health-insurance reform unless you’re really going to change the system. The discussions in the Senate have not been about changing the system.
ESQ: They seem to be worried about preserving the status quo.
HD: Washington is the most conservative town in America. Its culture is the most resistant to change except a few religious cults.
HD: It’s true! It’s absolutely true.
ESQ: You say that the public plan shouldn’t be able to dip into general government reserves to subsidize its operations. But the Republicans say it will.
HD: The Republicans just make things up out of whole cloth. Nothing they say about health care is true. It’s all just nonsense and fears and what-ifs. It doesn’t happen. First of all, Medicare doesn’t dip into government reserves. It has never happened. It might happen in 10 years if they don’t cut benefits or raise taxes, but so far, never in the history of America has a program like Medicare used public reserves. The Republican tactic is to raise objections because they never have anything positive to say themselves.
ESQ: In the book you ask, “Is health insurance really health insurance or an extension of the things that have been happening on Wall Street?”
HD: Think about it. What the big insurance companies have done is deny claims just so they can improve their bottom line. That’s just extraordinary.
Thank the uncaring heavens that our Serious Mainstream Media carefully protects itself, and by extension its readers, from contact with such looney talk as this! (/snark)
I’m looking forward to getting my hands on Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Health Care Reform, probably from the same dead-tree purveyors that provide my most current sources of economic and political instruction. The fact that so many of these sources were designed to as outlets for pop-music huckstering (Matt Taibbi), celebrity pictures (Todd Purdom), or the softest of softcore pornorgraphy is undoubtably some fault in my own character, and not a reflection on Our Serious Media
Village Idiots Outlets.