What To Do About Health Care
In the 1970′s, an East German defector to the West was assigned the task of helping other escapees adjust to life in a free country. The problem, he remembered years later, was that from kindergarten through college, from the moment the newspaper was opened in the morning to the moment the radio was turned off at night, every East German was bombarded by state propaganda telling him that the West was afflicted by hideous poverty, unemployment, and crime. As a result, East Germans naturally concluded that in the West poverty, unemployment, and crime were completely unknown.
In the same way, after two years of hearing President Clinton insist that health care was the gravest problem the country faced, it was natural for the President’s political opponents to conclude that health care is one subject they need never think about again. A consensus has rapidly formed that Clinton’s health-care campaign blighted his presidency. Americans are by and large content with the care they get. They mistrust federal plans to tinker with that care. And other social problems—crime, welfare, immigration—worry them far more. Would it not be wiser to leave the vexed thing alone?
About the Author
David Frum is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a columnist for National Review Online.