Trump and Krauthammer: Brothers in Progressive Fraud
The House of Representatives’ Obamacare reform bill accomplishes exactly one significant thing: It makes the pathway to single-payer healthcare in America an official Republican talking point, rather than the exclusively Democratic issue it has hitherto been, at least beyond closed doors. Yes, the cat is out of the bag. The GOP is now, openly, America’s moderate voice for socialism.
An over-the-top charge, you say? Well, let’s see. In 2012, the GOP establishment rejected more conservative candidates in favor of a presidential nominee who was so compromised on the key issue of government-run healthcare that he was actually (and accurately) praised by President Obama himself as one of the spiritual architects of the Affordable Care Act, through his Romneycare program in Massachusetts.
And in 2016, that same establishment backed, over more conservative candidates, a nominee in Donald Trump who had frequently, including during the primary campaign, compared America’s pre-Obamacare healthcare system unfavorably to the single-payer systems of Canada, Scotland, and Australia, and explicitly opined that a single-payer or “universal” system would have been the best solution for America too.
Now the House has passed a reform bill that maintains the spirit of Obamacare in many areas, most importantly in the general assumption that the federal government has a legitimate role in regulating healthcare to ensure that everyone has health coverage. In other words, the GOP has effectively signed onto the longstanding progressive propaganda that designates medical care a “positive right.”
Does the Republican Party know it has devolved into the last generation’s Democratic Party on socialized medicine, or is this just a massive blunder? To find the answer, we might consider the very latest statements on the issue from two people whose status as representatives of the GOP party line can hardly be questioned: President Trump and Charles Krauthammer.
Less than twenty-four hours ago as I write this, Trump tweeted out his view of the meaning of his and Paul Ryan’s healthcare bill:
Of course the Australians have better healthcare than we do — everybody does. ObamaCare is dead! But our healthcare will soon be great.
“Of course” Australia’s single-payer system is better than America’s. And lest you imagine he is merely saying that America’s system has been diminished under ObamaCare, note his emphatic addition — “everybody does.” But everybody, or everybody Trump would be likely to know about, has some form or other of socialized medicine. All such systems, then, are better than America’s. To defend Trump’s statement as a limited criticism of the past seven years is to ignore his long and consistent history of praising socialized medicine, and of calling for some form of universal healthcare coverage for Americans, as he did repeatedly during the primaries.
This brings us to Trump’s one-time critic but recent defender Charles Krauthammer, who took to the airwaves within the past twenty-four hours to predict, and not for the first time, that “in less than seven years we’ll be in a single-payer system.”
In brief, his argument is that ObamaCare, though a practical failure, changed public expectations about the nature of healthcare and the role of government in its provision. Though there is a vague pretense of a lament over lost opportunities in his remarks, the core of Krauthammer’s position is a desperate plea to everyone to accept that freedom is no longer the political goal, nor could it ever be again. In other words, he is not merely “facing facts,” but seeking to force everyone to resign himself to the progressive wave.
It’s likely that Republicans are going to suffer at the polls, and as a result of that, if that happens, you’re going to get a sea change in opinion, and there are only two ways to go: to a radically individualist system, where the market rules, or to single-payer. And the country is not going to go back to radically individualist.
Notice that Krauthammer uses the term “single-payer” without any judgmental qualifiers, whereas market-based healthcare — the default position, of course, for healthcare or any other good or service — is described, twice for added emphasis, as “radically individualist.”
Why is a free market “radically individualist”? What is radical about it? Nothing, of course. But radical is a propagandistic catchword — like “extreme” — used to marginalize or stigmatize a political position by deliberately placing it outside the moderate mainstream of reasonable opinion. In other words, Krauthammer is essentially a liberal on healthcare, as he is on guns, but tries to sway conservatives to his liberal positions by pretending sympathy with their concerns, while simultaneously demanding that they accept the death of their “radical” old views.
So one of the deans of the so-called conservative media, or at least the GOP-friendly media, is playing ironic manipulator for socialized medicine. Meanwhile, the GOP establishment’s puppet president is out there in pajama-land boasting of how America’s healthcare will someday be as good as “everybody” else’s — thanks, apparently, to the Republican Party’s new acceptance of the major premise of single-payer systems, namely that the government owns healthcare, which is to say the State owns the private citizen’s body.
Whatever one can say about the new ground it has staked out on this issue, the GOP certainly will not be accused of taking a “radically individualist” stand. On the contrary, under government-run healthcare, the individual barely exists at all, at least not as a self-determining being.