A “single payer” national health system—known as “socialized medicine” in the rest of the developed world—should be an essential part of the change that the core constituencies which elected Obama desperately need. Britain serves as an important political lesson for strategists. After the Labor Party established the National Health Service after World War II, supposedly conservative workers and low-income people under religious and other influences who tended to support the Conservatives were much more likely to vote for the Labor Party when health care, social welfare, education and pro-working class policies were enacted by labor-supported governments.
The article, and the Cato Blog post, argue that the passing of broad health care reform would be a mortal wound to the Republican Party. The oversimplified reason is because, once people have the health care, they'll think, why did anyone oppose this in the first place? It's not an unfair prediction, although it assumes the American public has a memory comparable to a goldfish—again, not an entirely unfair prediction. The health care situation in this country has been deep in the need for reform for a very long time.
The cries of "socialist" from the McCain/Palin camp during the presidential campaign have rung hollow. Now the two biggest issues facing the incoming administrations are the financial crisis and health care. First government bailouts, soon universal health care for children and fines for noncompliant adults. But it seems all the crying socialist wolf has stopped.
But the solution offered by the two authors would call for doubling-down on ideological entrenchment, standing athwart the arc of public opinion and saying, "Nope." This stance works nicely with the Republican Party's refusal to significantly reevaluate its stances on global warming and equal rights, not to mention school prayer and abortion.
Yesterday I discussed the future of the Republican party in terms of its use of netroots platforms. The pull to that movement's push is the head-in-the-sand approach to wedge politics. There's a long way to go.