The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

March 20, 2010
Was Ronald Reagan talking about ObamaCare?



In the health care debate, almost everything new seems a little old.

Ronald Reagan had a way with words, even back when he was a spokesman working for the American Medical Association. The AMA was adamantly opposed to legislation that ultimately won approval in 1965 and created a little program we call MediCare.

Some of the warnings the actor-turned-spokesman-turned-governor-turned-president issued are eerily similar to what we're hearing now. Consider this from a 1961 talk.

"One of the traditional methods of imposing 'statism' or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It is very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can't afford it."

Fast forward to 2003.

President George W. Bush, fully embracing Medicare as he ran for reelection, vastly expanded the program by pushing through greater prescription drug coverage for older Americans.

To get the bill through, he and his allies had to play some serious politics, make some deal and even make a few threats.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Then Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the Texas Republican, maybe went a little far. The House Ethics Committee reprimanded him for promising to support the election of a Michigan Republican's son in exchange for a vote on the bill.

President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi certainly are pushing hard for votes. But as far as we've heard, they haven't outright offered anything that might be worthy of a reprimand by the House Ethics Committee.

We at The Swarm realize this is a big leap, but say Democrats overcome all Republican threats and manage to approve the health care legislation, and country doesn't turn socialist. 

Imagine that we don't wake up in our sunset years telling "our children's children what it once was like in American when men were free," as Spokesman Reagan feared. Could it be that maybe some Republicans will find some part of this health care program worth supporting?

Nah. Can't imagine.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Stuart Leavenworth on Twitter

Follow "SacBeeEditBoard" on Twitter