by John Hawkins | November 8, 2007 8:45 am
In 1927 an American Socialist Norman Thomas admitted the American people would never vote for socialism. But he said that under the name of liberalism Americans would vote for every form of socialism.
Thomas, who ran for President six different times, understood the power of incrementalism. He knew that a socialist agenda in America could only be pursued with the use of deception and half measures, until one day Americans would wake up in a socialized state.
What Thomas understood eight decades ago still holds true today.
Look no further than the current health care debate in the United States Congress. The Democrat majority has now passed their version of an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance (SCHIP) bill twice. But instead of reauthorizing the program to continue to serve poor children, Democrats are seeking to expand SCHIP coverage to upper-middle class children and even to some adults.
Indeed, this proposal moves well beyond the initial purpose of SCHIP by expanding coverage to 70 percent of America’s children. What the Democrats are not telling the American people is that their proposal forces 1.2 million kids off private care and onto the government dole. Another thing that they are not telling us is that this baby step towards socialized medicine has been in the liberal playbook  for quite some time now.
Norman Thomas would be proud.
Today’s Democrats are determined not to suffer another HillaryCare-style defeat. Instead, they will patiently move us closer and closer to Washington-run health care by targeting sympathetic groups one by one.
As conservatives I believe we have two obligations in the face of this threat.
The first is simply to call it like we see it. A plan that forces children off of their own private plans and onto government plans is a step in the wrong direction for a freedom-loving nation. And, as I alluded to above, it puts us further down the path to government-run health care. We must continue to make this point.
Our second obligation is to present our fellow Americans with a compelling alternative.
We must advocate health care reform that relies on the traditional strength of the American people. We are a strong, hard-working, self-reliant and responsible people. Health care reform that discourages these traits should be shunned. Instead of expanding government-run healthcare, Republicans want to make freedom work for everyone. Our goal is for every American to have a health plan that they can afford, own and keep.
I believe we can turn patients into shoppers by adopting a plan that provides tax credits for health care.
Recently, I described such an alternative in this piece on Real Clear Politics. I encourage you to click through and read for a more in depth look at a conservative plan for reform.
Folks, I believe we are at a pivotal point in our nation’s history. Every Democrat who is running for President is advocating plans that will give the government more control of people’s everyday lives. Over the next year as we have a national dialogue about health care reform conservatives have an opportunity to win the argument.
I am optimistic that we can win this argument because we have done so in the past.
When conservative ideas have been applied to traditionally liberal policies, the conservative solution has won out. Welfare reform was a classic example.
I believe this is because our ideas are more than just conservative ideas; they are American ideas that have American values at their core. We can have a similar victory on the issue of health care reform if we are bold enough to promote our ideas with conviction.
I hope I can count on you to help me promote health care reform that provides more freedom and choices for Americans, not less.
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