Jacob Hacker has an interesting piece
in the July 20 Boston Globe. It starts:
STILL SMARTING FROM defeat, a leading activist ruefully explained why once-promising plans to expand health coverage had failed. Health legislation, he said, affected ''powerful group interests'' and was easy fodder for scare-tactic attacks. ''All these fears, some justified, some exaggerated, and some altogether fanciful,'' he said, ''produced such a confusion of group conflicts that only a clear recognition of the need... might have overcome it, and that clear recognition was lacking.''
All this would be an incisive assessment of the demise of the Clinton health plan in 1994-if, that is, it hadn't been offered in 1930, and if its author, the social reformer Isaac Max Rubinow, hadn't in fact been talking about the failure of the first campaign for expanded insurance in the late 1910s.
He goes on to mount a spirited defense of "play or pay" - requiring employers to contribute to an insurance fund if they do not provide health benefits for their employers, which he argues is a Clinton-era idea whose time might have come.