Why It Matters

Jay Newton-Small wrote an article for Time today about Eric Cantor and claimed one of “the large areas of agreement on upcoming legislation between Dems and Republicans” is “the expansion of employer-provided health care insurance rather than single payer government health care.”

That prompted me to send her the following email:

Hey Jay –

So I caught this line in your Cantor write:

“the expansion of employer-provided health care insurance rather than single payer government health care”

Single-payer government health care is actually NOT the opposing view. President Obama has stated very clearly – and 73% of voters support – everyone having the CHOICE of keeping private insurance or joining a new public health insurance plan.

It’s actually problematic to say that the alternative to more private insurance is government health care. The alternative to the status quo – or more private insurance – is a public health insurance plan option that would help control costs, ensure quality, and finally force private insurers to compete – not a single-payer, government-run health care system.

Please feel free to call or email me if you have questions. But I just wanted to make sure to bring this to your attention now and for future reference.



Her response was that she was saying Cantor and Obama agree that “neither want[sic] a single payer plan.” I couldn’t let it go so I wrote back:

I hear ya. It’s just that Obama doesn’t want the expansion of private insurance versus single payer.

There’s another alternative – the actual Obama plan – and it’s not in line with what Republicans want.

Just because they both don’t want a single-payer plan doesn’t mean they agree on what they DO want. It’s going to be an especially important detail as the health care convo heats up.


Her response (paraphrased): Stop nitpicking. You’ll just frustrate yourself.

Did I mention I’m not good at letting it go? Me again:

Not nitpicking. Clarifying. If the last go-around (‘93/’94) taught us anything, it’s that frame and counter-frame actually matter a lot.

…And you better believe Republicans are already planning to stick Obama’s plan with the “government-run health care” label – even though it’s not. They already came out swinging against Health IT and CER – and pretty much everyone rational knows those are both really good things.

Then as if on cue, this turns up from Politico:

Forget change: GOP eyes retro strategy

The write points out this isn’t the same political environment as 1994, and Obama’s facing better starting odds than Clinton did, but it also reminds us the Republican party’s themes are to “unite against Democrats’ economic policy, block and counter health care reform and tar them with spending scandals.” Plus, there’s this:

Republicans are banking on the more liberal House to push the health care legislation even further from the center, making it unpalatable to moderate Democrats as well as Republicans.

As he did years ago, Gingrich is urging his old colleagues to “come up with a positive solution that is inclusive of everybody and that is capable of being implemented and to try to do it in a bipartisan way.”

In the House, Boehner recently appointed a GOP health care task force to begin crafting a response to the Obama plan.

It’s the first step to painting Obama and his allies as farther left then they really are. The sooner the media stops inadvertently arguing the right wing case with inaccurate juxtapositions, the better.

And if that means I have to “nitpick” to make it happen, then so be it. This is too important to let slide, roll down hill, pick up speed, and tumble out of control.

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