"If I were magically given an hour to help Barack Obama prepare for his
health care speech next week," David Brooks wrote in this morning's New York Times, "the first thing I’d do is ask him to read
David Goldhill’s essay, 'How American Health Care Killed My Father,'
the current issue of The Atlantic." Goldhill's essay has been out for
weeks generating both criticism and praise. Now that Brooks has
endorsed, is health care punditry rallying around GoldhillCare?
- What is GoldhillCare? Goldhill criticized the underlying incentive structure that runs the consumer-doctor-insurer health care system. "How has a method of financing health care become synonymous with care itself?" he asked. The Wire earlier summarized Goldhill's plan as "a consumer-driven system with catastrophic insurance only, mandatory health savings accounts, and incentives for regular checkups."
- Reform Conservatives Can Get Behind Despite stereotypes, all conservatives are not categorical opponents of health care reform. Brooks encouraged Obama to take up Goldhill's enormouse reform plans. "This is not the time to get incremental," he wrote. "It’s the time to get fundamental." Nothing less than the Weekly Standard agreed. "David Brooks is absolutely right to recommend that the president (and New York Times readers) check out" the article, wrote the Standard's Matthew Continetti, who said of Goldhill's thesis, "makes sense to me!" John Schwenkler of the American Conservative called it "Maybe the best thing I've read on health care reform."
- Economists Love GoldhillCare EconoBloggers are all over this. Felix Salmon called Goldhill "spot-on in terms of diagnosing the problem, and his proposed solution, if implemented ex nihilo, sounds pretty good." Tyler Cowen approvingly quoted the piece, which he called "very good." The Economist's Ryan Avent gave it similarly positive treatment. All of three of these economists, it's worth noting, generally fall on the liberal side of the spectrum.
- Liberal Skepticism Remains High Goldhill advocates sweeping health care reform, which ordinally would appeal to liberals, but Goldhill's approach is sharply different from proposals currently before Congress. Were Obama to pursue GoldhillCare, he would have to disregard present Congressional reform plans, creating a major legislative setback and political defeat for reform and its Democratic proponents. "I think Goldhill is deploying his insights to the pretty insidious purpose of arguing against the kind of health reforms that now exist in the congress," wrote Matthew Yglesias. "The simple fact of the matter is that defeating the current reform effort is not going to lead to the emergence of some alternative, radically different health care reform." Kevin Drum mocked the plan as "suggesting that Obama throw out all the work of the past six months and start completely from scratch on a wonky curve-bending plan that would have approximately zero support in any known galaxy." The Economist's Democracy in America accused Goldhill of "making it impossible to accomplish anything."