1. Medicare is a popular program, especially with people who have Medicare.
2. That’s the age group most likely to oppose health care finance reform.
3. Opponents of reform have succeeded in making “government-run health care” a bogey-man.
4. But Medicare is government-run health care (or, more precisely, government-provided health insurance).
That’s almost too obvious to be worth saying, but clearly that idea hasn’t really penetrated either the public consciousness or the journalistic consciousness.
Everyone who denounces “government-run health care” ought to be asked “Does that include Medicare? Do you want to abolish Medicare?” Ideally, journalists would do that job. But in the real world, proponents of reform are going to have to do it themselves. Start every speech by explaining that back in 1964 the very same coalition that’s trying to wreck reform now was denouncing Medicare as “socialized medicine.”