Which is what has happened with Obamacare.
DeBakey quotes Robert M. Ball, President Kennedy's commissioner of Social Security, who said that the architects of Medicare saw it and subsequent insurance for children as incremental steps toward national health care. He said he was "astonished" to learn this. He shouldn't have been because "progressives" always think government and academia are smarter and more capable than any individual or profession.
Seeing clearly the arguments that would be made in favor of Obamacare, DeBakey said, "I have traveled the globe to developed and undeveloped countries with both democratic and communistic governments ... and I can state unequivocally that I have not observed any 'universal health system' or other state-operated medical system that functions in a highly satisfactory manner or provides high-quality care to all the people all the time. In all such countries, there are long delays for any form of high-technology care -- sometimes with fatal consequences. In fact, rationing of care is a prominent feature of all these systems."
DeBakey was a humanitarian who believed "health care is too critical for the welfare of the people to be held hostage by the politically motivated or the profit minded. Herein lies the societal challenge: the need for accepting the desirability of some form of national health care, along with the willingness to pay for it, but avoiding its administration and total control by an ultimately rigid and unwieldy governmental or insurance industry bureaucracy."
This is the Republican challenge. If Obamacare is struck down, Republicans should have a substitute proposal ready that embodies their principles, gets passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Republican president in 2013.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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