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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Sunday, September 21, 2003


principles vs medi-scare

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, September 21, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The Washington Times has an editorial decrying Gephardt's attempt to scare voters on Dean's positions on Medicare:

As a physician who actually spent years delivering services to Medicare patients, Mr. Dean has an informed insider's view of the program. Recently, Mr. Gephardt dredged up some clips from 1995 and asserted that Mr. Dean, who at the time was Vermont governor and chairman of the National Governors Association, supported Republican efforts to reform Medicare and restrain its growth.

The Republican reform plan, as this page noted at the time, would have increased Medicare spending by 54 percent between 1995 ($158 billion) and 2002 ($244 billion). Then-Gov. Dean apparently expressed support for the GOP reform plan; but Democrats, led in part by Mr. Gephardt, relentlessly demagogued the fact that the reformed Medicare program would have spent less over the same period than an unreformed program.
As a family physician, Mr. Dean has experienced firsthand how easy it would be to waste tens of thousands of dollars in a fruitless effort during the last days of a terminal patient's life. As Medicare races toward bankruptcy, Mr. Dean's views surely carry more weight than those of a long-standing health-care demagogue.

These are hard questions. When funds are limited, there certainly ought to be a kind of triage for care just as is practiced on a more immediate level in the ER. Dean's positions are at the very least opening these issues for much-needed debate - as long as Democrats like Gephardt resort to scare tactics on Medicare, against principled reformists like Dean or implacable enemies like Bush, they are undercutting the self-interest of the constituents they purport to speak for. If Medicare is to even exist as a viable program in the next few decades, we need more people like Dean willing to discuss its basic assumptions.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.