Paul Starr is an ardent advocate of (dare I say it?) socialized medicine. He co-founded the left-wing magazine The American Prospect. And he wrote the definitive history of the medical profession in the United States -- seriously, you should read this book. Which is why Republicans should take heed when he writes:
Political leaders since Bismarck seeking to strengthen the state or to advance their own or their party's interests have used insurance against the costs of sickness as a means of turning benevolence to power.
As noted earlier, the political survival of the Republican party probably depends on its defeating whatever health-care plan emerges from the scrum created by Messrs. Obama, Baucus, Kennedy, and Wyden.
If the GOP fails, the beating it took in 2008 will pale in comparison to the decades-long drubbing that will follow.