I watch with bemused detachment.
We all know (or should know by now) that most policy is not based on a rational assessment of data. Science matters not a whit in the world of media pundits. All that matters is the trio of power, money and politics. In entertainment television news, the sound bite and five-second image makes the anecdote one of the most powerful policy tools available.
What? Nobody on the right anticipated that the Dems would parade a child affected by the SCHIP veto? Duh. The only possible response would be to attack the eligibility of the child and their family. "They're too rich." "They don't deserve help." Did anyone on the right realize their response would paint them as heartless goobers?
For the background, Graeme Frost is a 12-year old with a brain injury who was trotted by some pretty smart strategists looking to build opposition against the President's veto of the SCHIP reauthorization bill over Medicaid expansion. The Republicans attacked with a characteristic degree of opprobrium which was only unusual and inadvisable in its intensity. The commentary has been incredible (but Ann Coulter's miserably stupid misrepresentation of Christianity's beliefs is higher on the Technorati's top searches.)
Here is a sample of editorial and blog commentary:
Paul Krugman at the New York Times
Jean Marbella of The Baltimore Sun
The big pharma puppets at Drug Wonks
Ann Coulter wanna-be Michelle Malkin (talk about nauseating)
Multiple commentaries in the mainstream press collected by the Kaiser Foundation and on and on. They have been collecting opeds daily for weeks.
Jon Cohn (a conservative voice in support of SCHIP) in the New Republic, plus TNR's additional commentary on the blog war.
An exchange courtesy of The Cato.
Reproductive Health Reality Check
The whack jobs at Insure Blog analyzing the cost of insurance in Baltimore (laughable.)
The Health Care Blog
Megan McArdle, one of the most intelligent commentators on the subject, here, here and here.
Finally, Gary Schweitzer highlights the fact that this veto makes for great comedy.
I side with Megan, this entire blowup was predictable. Ronald Reagan was the father of the anecdote and the use of a personal story to drive policy. It is fair play. So what the heck did Republicans expect? The right's response has been an irresponsible, shallow, stupid knee-jerk which will galvanize the country and assure expanded coverage. This is the outcome of the SCHIP war.
Our problem now is how to pay for the coming health system and how to control costs. I am not sure how increasing consumerism in health care fits in with further insulating consumers from the costs of their health care. But finally, the debate will have to move to where it rightly belongs.