Saturday, June 13, 2009

Murther Most Foul!

No, the title is not a reference to Mickey's apparent belief that Ezra Klein is coming to kill him (and what in the hell does a post have to do to get the "paranoia" tag at kausfiles?) ... it's because the issue of health care reform has turned Mickey into Hamlet.

You see, Mickey desperately hates Democrats, but Mickey also supports universal health care -- it's one of the last sad little vestiges of Mickey's leftist past, a rapidly fraying stitch holding the "liberal" to the "neo". If Republicans were to offer a plan for universal health care -- really, any plan even remotely related to health care -- Mickey would gladly clamber aboard, as he did with Bush's Medicare prescription drug debacle. [Hey! Confusing senior citizens and shoveling money to private insurers and the pharmaceutical industry was a small price to pay for prescription drug coverage! -- ed. Billy Tauzin thinks so!]

Unfortunately for Mickey, the Republicans are still the party where Medicare is equated with Stalin ("we'll be telling our children about a time in America, when men and women were free ... to die in hospital waiting rooms"), and those evil Democrats are pushing universal health care. What to do, what to do?

Watch as Mickey flounders by:

- Consistently equating universal health care with government denial of popular and effective treatments -- essentially repeating GOP talking points and in some cases amplifying and elaborately defending them -- all for the purpose of showing Democrats how to *really* sell universal health care. [Democrats are supposed to pitch universal health care by claiming that it will be a massively huge and constantly expanding government program with no attempts at efficiency or even effectiveness? -- ed. Hey, Mickey's got evidence to support the popularity of that pitch ... right ... um ... over ... hmm.]

- Linking copiously to conservative opponents of universal health care, even as he assures everyone that he would totally be for a universal health care plan if only it didn't deny popular and effective treatments -- which, of course, it doesn't -- and if it didn't have Nancy Pelosi's cooties all over it.

- You know that New Yorker piece showing that higher priced medicine clearly did not lead to better health outcomes, and was generally the product of an information gap between patients and physicians -- as opposed to people themselves demanding "fancy new expensive treatments", which makes literally no sense when you consider that obtaining medical care isn't like shopping at Best Buy, but is kinda hilarious when you picture Mickey angrily demanding an echocardiogram while his puzzled internist explains that he has gout -- and that, hey, maybe the larger problem is a model of health care that focuses on profit-maximization rather than patient outcome, and maybe reforming the way doctors are compensated will change that, too?

Yeah, Mickey's ignoring that (and how it demolishes his oft-stated thesis that expensive is better) and focusing on the New Yorker profile of Peter Orszag instead, presumably because Mickey's casting the role of Heartless Bureaucrat for his play-within-a-play. [“You get paid more if the treatment has been shown to be effective and a little less if not”? Scandalous! -- ed. They don't make horrifying bean-counting treatment-denying ogres like they used to.]

You can expect basically the same game plan from Mickey until universal health care is enacted, or until Matthew Yglesias kills him with a poisoned-tipped keyboard.

Alas, poor Mickey ... I knew him ...

He was a tool.