I’m not sure what Douthat expected. There are only a few ideas that government can implement and they’ve all been discussed. The only real choices which would have any impact are between government regulated healthcare and leaving it fully to the free market by dropping previous regulations and allowing the market to work, or not work, as the case may be — I believe the market, left alone by government, would work much better than government intervention has worked through the years.
It was decided long ago that government regulation is the way to go, and now it’s just a matter of how much regulation the public will allow, or the healthcare industry can withstand. Government intervention has created the majority of our present healthcare problems. Republicans shoudn’t be excoriated for not coming up with ideas to create more regulations — if this bill passes, with or without Republican recommendations, all ideas which can pop into a technocrat’s head will be tried soon enough, because unintended consequences will demand more and more government solutions, none of which will accomplish their goals.
The only criticism I have against the Republicans is they lack the courage, or the understanding, to reveal government as the culprit of the present healthcare situation. Government healthcare reform through regulation is simply a prescription for disaster, leading inevitably to a nationalized, single payer healthcare system
I agree the summit lacked substance, but for reasons Douthat didn’t mention. The summit would have been the perfect forum to debate the reality with which we are presented – nationalized healthcare or healthcare left to a truly free market — not mixed, not half-free/half-regulated, but free-free market. All the efforts which don’t address these two choices are like trying to paper-wrap water.