Erick Erickson and the continued silliness of the right
Whenever Erick Erickson begins a post with the phrase “awesome news” expect the opposite to be true, or at the very least to expect a tremendous amount of spin. The Redstate blogger doesn’t fail us with his latest foray into the healthcare debate:
The Senate Republicans failed to ever make a fuss about the individual mandate. If I had to guess, it would be because Bob Bennett of Utah, who whispers in Mitch McConnell’s ear more than any other Senator, is a huge proponent of the individual mandate and, as luck would have it, is about to get a Democratic health care bill that looks almost identical to his own Wyden-Bennett compromise plan. As an added bonus, he can vote against it and still see it pass.
If only the current bill looked more like the Wyden-Bennett compromise plan – which had seven Democratic and seven Republican sponsors. Alas, this is not the case. The Senate HCR bill isn’t terrible, but it’s nowhere near as good as Wyden-Bennett. I assume Erickson has read neither bill, or he wouldn’t say such utterly ludicrous things.
Then again, this is Redstate we’re talking about, and ludicrous statements with no grounding in truth or fact are the standard fare. One wouldn’t want to trump ideology with “data.” One wouldn’t want to cast doubt on the accepted narrative, no matter how fictional, by actually reading the healthcare proposals or their summaries. Heaven forbid we actually compare the actual merits of each plan, lest we muck up our talking points with actual information.
This is my problem more and more with the right. While the left has a plethora of wonks who readily dredge up data, make charts, and site papers and journals to support their arguments, the right tends to simply fall back on what other people they agree with have said. Erickson cites absolutely no evidence to show that either Bennett is the reason that the individual mandate has run without much opposition or that the current bill looks anything like the Wyden-Bennett plan. He just states it as fact. Other right-wing bloggers will then cite Erickson. And that’s all the evidence needed to make something the gospel truth.
On the left you have places like the Wonk Room actually mining the data and drawing up comparison charts and analyzing the costs and benefits and so on and so forth. The right seems woefully disengaged from fact-checking or data-mining or any other form of legwork.
In any case, Erickson is crowing over news that Jim DeMint and John Ensign are planning to force a vote on the constitutionality of the individual mandate. Like DeMint, Erickson (and apparently quite a few progressives) simply do not understand how insurance works.
Insurance screens against risk. Reforms currently being proposed do away with this filtering process by mandating that private insurers take on anybody regardless of risk, and capping how much they can charge. Without a mandate, anyone who was healthy could simply not buy insurance until they were sick or injured and then purchase insurance and get full coverage. This distorts the system in obvious ways, and essentially makes it so that nobody would ever pay for insurance until it was needed – defeating the entire point of insurance to begin with.
See Also: Andrew Sullivan with some side-by-side comparisons of Erickson quotations.