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Michael Maccoby

Michael Maccoby

Michael Maccoby is an anthropologist and psychoanalyst globally recognized as an expert on leadership. He is the author of The Leaders We Need, And What Makes Us Follow.

Principled conservatism

This week's health care summit presents Republican leaders with a difficult choice: (1) agree to support a plan that might be modestly changed to accommodate their ideas; or (2) oppose it on principle as too costly and intrusive and use the issue to try to gain political advantage in November. Which strategy offers them the best prospect of regaining power?

The political "experts" think Republicans will regain power in Congress by sinking all Democratic initiatives, especially health-care legislation. Without doubt, this strategy appeals to the Republican base which never supported the idea of universal health care. But Barack Obama, who campaigned on this promise, was not elected by the Republican base, but by Democrats and independents.

The Republican attack on the health-care legislation has confused the public with threats of "death panels," cuts to Medicare, ballooning deficits and oppressive government control. Right now, the polls show that this strategy has turned the majority of the voters against health-care reform. But when the time comes to elect a new Congress and more people find themselves without insurance or with growing bills, the public may blame these Republicans for sabotaging progress.

To avoid primary challenges from the far-right voters who are most likely to vote, some Republicans need to stick to a strategy of "no" against any Democratic initiative. But others might be wise to take a principled conservative position on health care policy, emphasizing cost control and incentives for quality.

Imagine the positive response of independents at the polls to those Republicans who would say, "We recognize that the costs of Medicare cannot be sustained and the insurance system needs reform. We will support a bill that honestly deals with these issues and calls for equitable sacrifices as long as it does not increase the deficit."

By Michael Maccoby

 |  February 23, 2010; 11:38 AM ET
Category:  Congressional leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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It's amazing that people really think that we can afford the liberals' health care 'reform' bill. The bottom line is that we can't....and certainly not with a single payer system. The costs will rise beyond all comprehension and the quality will suffer very much as well.


People spout this kind of talk all the time but never back it up with proof.

Of course, in the same breath, they will also tell you that no one knows what is in the health reform bill.

But trust them: the taxpayers can't afford it - just trust them.

Posted by: sr31 | February 24, 2010 5:40 PM
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It's amazing that people really think that we can afford the liberals' health care 'reform' bill. The bottom line is that we can't....and certainly not with a single payer system. The costs will rise beyond all comprehension and the quality will suffer very much as well. There is no such things as a "free lunch", yet the people who think that Republicans oppose people getting affordable health care believe that somewhere there is stash of money just waiting on to pay for it all. You have to cut the costs of health care. First, you NEED tort reform. When a third of all medical tests are associated with defensive medicine, tort reform makes a difference. When a doctor has to pay $100,000 a year for malpractice insurance...a cost that is passed onto the customer, tort reform matters. Obama and liberals rail against the "evil" insurance companies as though the insurance industry was making 50% profits, when the reality is that they make more like 4% profit, hardly a hallmark of excess. Greedy trial lawyers (like John Edwards) overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party and stand to lose big if tort reform is passed. Saying a principled "no" is the appropriate thing for the Republicans to do as well as offer reasonable alternatives to the liberals big-spending plan. But the media and the Democrats don't want you to hear those reasonable Republican alternatives, do they? They are out there. They have been offered but have been rejected by the real party of no, the Democratic Party.

Posted by: honorswar26 | February 24, 2010 11:59 AM
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I believe that Republicans do not want to deny care, and that want to make decisions for Americans that are moral, compassionate and financially prudent.

Mandating insurance companies' ability to raise premiums arbitrarily is a positive. Denying companies abiity to deny coverage because of pre-existing condition is a positive.

The alarming escalation of premiums that is going on now by insurance companies...is the companies preparing for a possible time when they must sell at a fixed price.

If we can run automobile businesses, we should be able to run hospitals and clinics. We will need to build nurse and doctor-training programs so that we can turn out enough doctors and nurses to meet demand.

Illegal aliens and their free medical care have put a strain on our medical care systems all over our country. When Americans needed to see a doctor, but couldn't afford it, an illegal alien walks into an E.R. at will and gets it free. This is patently wrong on so many levels.
It is time to pass legislation that states that illegal aliens will receive NO medical care and that they must return home. Fund ICE, send them home, and there will be jobs, resources, and housing available to our desperate citizens.

Republicans love our country, but I would hate for them to vote for the trash that has been kicked around by the Dems and POTUS...which is rife with corruption and extreme overspending.

Posted by: easttxisfreaky | February 24, 2010 1:28 AM
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Both bills - and Obama's cloudy, generalized "proposal" - ALL SUCK.

THAT is why Americans don't want it.

It is fiscally unsound.

Pelosi - forcing me to purchase an insurance policy is fundamentally different from offering me free Medicare or Medicaid - an entitlement.

How do you talk to STUPID? You are REFUSING to HEAR.

Posted by: easttxisfreaky | February 23, 2010 11:23 PM
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Have the Republican leaders considered that the "People" might vote them back into power if the "People" thought the Republicans were working in their best interest?

Exactly how is denying healthcare reform moral, compassionate, or financially prudent?

Posted by: shadowmagician | February 23, 2010 5:47 PM
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What principles do Repubs have? Even to keep using Reagan's policies is a joke. Reagan increase the deficit under his administration. GOP's principle role has been to see this administration fail = see America not recover from the severe 2007-2010 Post World War II Bush Economic Financial Mortgage Reccession. GOP have stopped work in congress with filibusting over 90% of bills to restoring America. They have made our democracy a mockery of the people's choice in November 2008. They have no intentions to cut the cost of health care by reform because they are more heavily funded by the corporate industry rather than being funded by every day American people. GOP does not speak for the majority of American people.

Posted by: Vonnie932 | February 23, 2010 4:10 PM
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I cannot get away from one thing, this issue would not be talked about much more legislated if the Republicans had won the White House.

We are trying to put the roof on the four walls that have been built in the last six months and razing the house cannot be an option, finish and sue the contractor but at least we will have a place to sleep until the litigation is over. If we need to move out and raze it we at least have the time to see if the issues are fixable or if the projected catastrophe was overblown and the roof did not leak!
Thank you,

Posted by: katzedes | February 23, 2010 3:36 PM
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