Mickey Kaus criticizes those who say health reform has to save money. Nonsense, Kaus, a rare, honest liberal on this question, says. We should willingly pay more to provide a genuing public good:
An alternative argument for health reform would say: extending generous health coverage to all citizens is part of America's social equality. We don't deny people what they need to regain their health. We don't decide that some people are worth care and others aren't, British-style. We can pay for it--it's expensive, it certainly doesn't help the deficit picture, but it's not that expensive at the moment, maybe a hundred or two extra billion a year. It's worth raising some taxes and maybe denying the affluent government retirement checks (which is not such a necessary part of social equality). If we can do some reasonable curve-bending in the long-run to bring down the cost, even better. But we're not counting on it, since so far nobody's been able to do it.
Question: do most Americans see it that way? What percentage of us agree that " extending generous health coverage to all citizens is part of America's social equality." I am fairly certain that the vast majority of Americans agree that people who really need medicine ought to get it. Do they agree that the government ought to provide it? Which level of government? And in what cases? Do most Americans think government should provide "generous health coverage" or do they think it should provide only the necessities, and think that anything above that ought to be provide for by our own savings, by insurance, and by private charity? I am not sure there is as much consensus on these issues as Kaus would like to think, especially when one puts it in a real-world framwork. How much more should we pay in taxes to provide generous health coverage, as opposed to the emergecy service we now provide? Etc. No one, and not country, can afford everything, however nice it sounds.