The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

March 20, 2010
Was Ronald Reagan talking about ObamaCare?

RONALD REAGAN.jpg

 

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.

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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.

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