Kevin Drum notes that Big Business seems to support socialized medicine and that a moderate Democrat could likely come up with a plan that would attract sufficient GOP support to pass it. He thinks it would require “one of those cool names that Newt Gingrich was so good at coming up with.” He suggests “The Business Freedom and Health Bureaucracy Reduction Act of 2003.” Heh.

It seems to me that we’re about 2/3 of the way there now. Currently, the elderly, the poor, the active military, some disabled folks, and most government workers get free or heavily-subsidized government health benefits. Once the working middle class realize they’re paying for everyone else, it won’t be hard to persuade them to make the system universal.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. joy says:

    Oh please. The difference of quality of healthcare of those groups you just described varies so much. For example my Dad has health benefits (gov’t employee) that rivales anything you could find in the private sector, you could choose your own doctor, etc. etc. On the other hand, military healthcare sucks and is broken (both on base and tricare), because you have no choice in terms of healthcare providers, especially if you’re a dependent.

    After dealing with the nightmare that military healthcare is I’m more than happy to pay a bit extra so I can choose who my provider is. While I agree that some healthcare is better than no healthcare, I want to be able to have a choice and I would oppose any healthcare plan that would take away my right to do so.

  2. hudibrastic says:

    After dealing with the nightmare that military healthcare is I’m more than happy to pay a bit extra so I can choose who my provider is.

    Uh, they have this. It’s called Tricare Standard. Of the dependents that complain about the military healthcare system, 99% of them are using Tricare Prime (free, but uses military doctors and hospitals). With Tricare Standard, you pay more in copays, but your out-of-pocket expenses are capped at $1000/year and you can choose any civilian doctor you want.

  3. I have to say my experiences with military healthcare were mostly positive, but I think that was (a) because they were mostly before the bureaucratic brainwave that is Tricare was introduced and (b) they happened overseas, where dependents generally got as good care as sponsors.

    The bad experiences were largely due to one particular quack flight surgeon who thought the cure for ingrown toenails was to cut gaping holes in your shoes.

  4. jen says:

    I don’t know where you get your info, but I the government employee does not get FREE healthcare. We have to pay premiums that are deducted from out of our payroll each pay period. How much that premium is depends on which health plan you choose. There are some pretty cheap ones, but none are free and you can’t opt out.

  5. James Joyner says:


    I know that Federal Civil Service folks don’t get free health care, although it is cheaper than most employer group plans. But there are all sorts of government employees at the state and local level, most of which get subsidized if not free coverage, I think.