If Health-Care Reform Passes, Will Protests Increase?


At The Daily Beast, Reihan Salam argues that "the so-called "town brawls" are a sign of things to come":

To get a glimpse of America's future, consider France. The French have the health-care system that Americans desperately want: it combines private providers and patient choice with a large and generous public insurance system, one that keeps out-of-pocket costs extremely low for working families. The French system is also dramatically cheaper than our own. But whenever there's a move to tweak the system in some way—say, to gently nudge patients to get the approval of a general practitioner before seeing a specialist—the French go absolutely mad with rage. Doctors go on strike, massive street protests ensue, the riot police come out: it's a crazy scene.

And it makes perfect sense: as more life and death decisions are placed in the hands of democratically elected legislators, politics become more than an occasional nuisance.

The logic here, which I agree with, is fairly similar to what I've argued about health-care reform and corporate lobbying: Making government a bigger player in the health-care process means that health-care decisions are increasingly political decisions, which, in turn, means that people and companies turn ever more toward political acts—like protests and lobbying—in order to participate. Obama has repeatedly talked about moving the country beyond politics. But the health-care reforms he supports would, in fact, further politicize the health-care system. 

Previously, I wrote about industry support for health-care reform. Ron Bailey wrote about handouts in cap-and-trade legislation here.