Starr's advocacy in the pages of The American Prospect marks an endorsement by perhaps the preeminent social historian of American medical care.
Starr is the author of The Social Transformation of American Medicine (Basic Books, 1982) that likely does not occupy a place on the book shelves of the Tea Party and assorted imbeciles like Senators Jim Demint and John McCain screaming about a "government take-over" of the American health care system.
Starr's endorsement could be critical as the support of perhaps the most perspicuous of academics on American health care should carry weight with the U.S. House Progressive caucus that has understandably looked askance at the Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson-depleted legislation passed by the U.S. Senate.
If Congress can complete work on health-care legislation and send it to the president(as of mid-January, the final bill is still under negotiation), it will be a stunning historical achievement and the most important liberal reform since the 1960s. It may also be the most underappreciated social legislation in recent history. Never in my experience has such a big reform been treated as so small. Never have Democratic members of Congress who are putting their careers on the line for something they believe in been so vilified as sellouts by influential progressives. And never have those progressives been so grudging in their endorsement of landmark legislation or so willing to see it defeated.
How this happened is clear. Facing united Republican opposition,Democratic leaders made a series of concessions to win over centrists in their own caucus and to neutralize key interest groups. One point of contention -- the public option -- came to symbolize hopes on the left, and when that provision was unable to pass the 60-vote hurdle in the Senate, some progressives such as Howard Dean concluded that the entire bill had been gutted.
But that conclusion is wrong. The legislation would be a major advance in two important respects. After a long period of rising inequality, it would boost the living standards of low-wage workers and their families and improve economic security for the middle class as well. And it would be the most ambitious effort in recent history to reorganize a major institution on a basis that agrees more closely with principles of justice and efficiency.
- via mal contends