Medicare and Barack Obama

Erza Klein argues that polls show support for health care reform rising (and this at a time when the current bill has attracted substantial opposition from the left). As I have argued before perhaps Australia may provide a guide, the single-payer systems of Medibank and Medicare implemented by Labor governments in 1975 and 1984 (a conservative government elected in late 1975 dismantled Medibank) were controversial but once in place both programs became popular. At the 1987, 1990 and 1993 elections the conservatives failed to offer a coherent alternative to Medibank and this contributed to Labor’s unprecedented record of electoral success.  Eventually the conservatives changed tack and pledged to support medicare which contributed to their 1996 election victory. The electoral success of the conservatives from 1996 to 2007 was in part due to their acceptance of Medicare and their support of initiatives to extend it further (as shown in the video). True the likely result of American health care reform is a system less attractive than the Australian user-pays system but I still doubt that the Republicans can return to power simply as the party of ‘no’.

One thought on “Medicare and Barack Obama

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