Maggie Gallagher

The Terminator just announced sweeping new plans to offer health insurance to every single Californian, legal and illegal. "Everyone in California must have health insurance," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced this week, in a tone that, according to the New York Times reporter, "seemed as much a threat as a promise."

Schwarzenegger thus joins former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as the second Republican governor to make expanding healthcare coverage his signature reform initiative. Karen Davis, president of the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, praised ArnoldCare to The New York Times as "a very significant proposal. I think this shows health care is going to be a major issue in the 2008 presidential campaign," she said.

I think so, too.

In the 1990s, Republicans helped defeat HillaryCare, a bureaucratic national health insurance scheme (and for reasons I'll share another time, I'm glad they did). They touted at the time something called "managed care" as the private solution to the crisis of rapidly rising healthcare costs. What this means in practice to ordinary people like me is that instead of a government bureaucratic system rationing care in inexplicable and irritating ways, the private healthcare system is doing it for us.

Republicans who applaud themselves for trashing '90s-style HillaryCare need to think hard about what's ahead -- for the good of the country, and also in case they want a prayer of winning an election next time around. I offer here a primer on just what I hate about health care, in case it's useful.

Mind you, I'm aware that the problems of Yale-educated, nationally syndicated columnists making a (low) six-figure income are not what the country is worried about. I offer them anyway on the grounds that if Yale grads making six figures are this disenchanted, what must the rest of you be feeling?

After about a decade of ignoring my health issues (diabetes), last July I finally found a good doctor I could work with. My A1C level (the primary measure of long-term blood sugar control) dropped from more than 10 percent (catastrophic) to less than 6.5 percent (close to normal). I know it's not just me, because my doctor had recently calculated his office-wide A1C average for diabetics: It, too, was under 6.5 percent.


Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.