From Ezra Klein’s WaPo Chat

Ken AshfordHealth CareLeave a Comment

I think this is his second one, and I find them to be very good, if only because he echoes things I've been saying lately.  I hope he does more.  Some excerpts:

Columbia, SC: In honor of Twitter's down period, I think all responses should be made in 140 characters or less.

Ezra Klein: I am very tempted to do this. But I will not. Questions, however, should definitely be under 140 characters!


New Haven, Conn.: Ezra, what do you make the most recent CNN poll on health care reform that showed a generational divide between those who want reform (the under-50s) and those who don't (the over-50s)? Given that the over-50s are about to benefit from government-run health care in the form of Medicare, I find their (overall) hypocrisy amusing.

Ezra Klein: America's elderly effectively live in Canada. They have single-payer health care. They have a government-run, defined benefit pension plan. And they like it. Their opposition is a funny kind of opposition: They're not worried that the government is going to take over health care. They're worried that they're going to lose their government-provided health care.

I wrote a longer post on this the other day, and I'm just going to copy my conclusion from there. Generally speaking, people who oppose health-care reform are worried we're going to end up with something like what Canada has. Not seniors. They have something like what Canada has (Canada, in fact, also calls their health insurance program "Medicare"). And they like it. They report higher rates of satisfaction with their health care than do people in employer-sponsored insurance. They're worried, rather, that they might end up with something like what the rest of America has. And having spent time in both Medicare and private health insurance, they don't want that. They don't want that at all.

This means, of course, that they oppose health-care reform in uncommonly high numbers because they're concerned about changes to their situation. But for the rest of us, it should serve as a pretty good argument for heath-care reform, and particularly for something like Medicare-for-All.


Re: Cash For Clunkers: Ezra, I don't understand the Republican criticism (but when do I ever?) to this program, calling it a boondoggle because it already needs more money.

If my local store decides to boost sales with a special promotion and they clear the shelves of product, why is that a bad thing? Don't you think their parent company would agree to give them more resources to keep the promotion going so they could sell more stuff?

I thought the Republicans understood capitalism.

Ezra Klein: It's been confusing. There's a legitimate criticism of cash for clunkers that it doesn't do enough to force the purchase of high-mileage, environmentally friendly vehicles. But it's hard to say that a bill that was meant to kickstart car sales is failing because it has kickstarted car sales.


Alexandria, Va.: What do you make of the angry elderly town hall attendees complaining about government paid health care? How many of them would give up Medicare? How many veterans would give up the VA system?

Ezra Klein: Just about none of them. Satisfaction in both the VA and the Medicare are higher than in private insurance.


Silver Spring, Md.: Found out that my congresswoman Donna Edwards is having a health care town hall this evening at 6 at the Oxon Hill library. Given that she's a liberal black woman and outspoken in favor of a public option (and who would favor single payer) I'm a little worried about right-wing astroturfers showing up and getting way, way out of hand. What could those of us who support her do to help, do you think?

Ezra Klein: Show up.