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Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

How Dare Conservatives Stand athwart Obamacare Yelling, Stop!



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In a column for Kaiser Health News, Michael L. Millenson, president of Health Quality Advisors LLC, laments that conservatives in the U.S. House are approaching Obamacare like, well, conservatives. He cites these frightening comments from unnamed House GOP staffers:

The Innovation Center at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services?

“An innovation center at CMS is an oxymoron,” responded a  Republican aide. . . . “Though it’s great for PhDs who come to Washington on the government tab.”

There was also no reason the government should pay for “so-called comparative effectiveness research,” another said.

“Everything’s on the chopping block,” said yet another.

No government-funded comparative-effectiveness research? For my money, those staffers (and whoever hired them) should get a medal.

Millenson disagrees. He thinks conservative Republicans have become a bunch of cynics and longs for the days when Republicans went along with the left-wing impulse to have the federal government micromanage health care:

After all, the McCain-Palin health policy platform in the 2008 presidential election called for coordinated care, greater use of health information technology and a focus on Medicare payment for value, not volume. Once-and-future Republican presidential candidates such as former governors Mike Huckabee (Ark.), Mitt Romney (Mass.) and Tim Pawlenty (Minn.), as well as ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, have long promoted disease prevention, a more innovative federal government and increased use of information technology. Indeed, federal health IT “meaningful use” requirements can even be seen as a direct consequence of Gingrich’s popularization of the phrase, “Paper kills.”

He even invokes the father of modern conservatism, William F. Buckley, as if Buckley would disapprove of conservatives standing athwart Obamacare yelling, Stop!

Millenson’s tell comes toward the end of the column, when he writes that

traditional GOP conservatives . . . [have] eschewed ideas in favor of ideological declarations.

Eschewed ideas in favor of . . . ideas? My guess is that what’s really troubling Millenson is that congressional Republicans are eschewing left-wing health-care ideas in favor of freedom.

Better late than never. Now if only GOP governors would do the same.



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