22 March 2010

Am I For This HCR Bill, Or Agin' It?

I'm one of those people who opposed the Senate bill from the left, figuring that single-payer would be the fairest, LEAST costly option. Government bureaucracy? It is to laugh, as Daffy Duck says -- ever tangle with an insurance company? (In fairness, I have to say Unity has done very well by us.)

But I knew that with the rabid snarling racist mobs howling about socialism, calling U.S. Representatives "nigger" and spitting on them, single-payer was not happening in this decade. (Per Larry O, a trillion-dollar war of choice is affordable because "freedom isn't free", but investing in healthcare is apocalyptic? Sheesh!)

OK, how about a public option, so at least there's SOME way to pool risk without a Profit Spigot draining funds? Nope. Didn't happen. Nobody but a few "fringe" reps like Kucinich even tried very hard.

Call me naive, but I was actually shocked to discover in the past couple of days that in addition to the no-reimportation/no-price-leverage Big Pharma deal the Obama administration made under the table, they also got the hospitals on board by agreeing (secretly, of course) in advance that there would be no public option. And of course they bought the insurance companies with the mandate, I mean who wouldn't love the idea of millions of new customers?

I'm not sure where the leverage to reduce overall healthcare costs comes from, frankly. We've guaranteed that the insurance companies can keep sucking at our jugulars, the hospitals can pass costs off to the insurance companies, the patients will want every test and treatment because the hospitals don't charge them for it...round it goes.

So let's review. Guaranteed customers for the already-bloated insurance companies, no cost control, plenty of money siphoned off for profits, and a new bureaucracy to boot! And don't even get me started on the executive order restricting abortion funding. Just don't.

Well, we'll have fewer people uninsured and dying from it. (At least until the Right manages to sabotage the subsidies. Gotta pay for those F-35s somehow, you know!)

So I'm for it, but it leaves a really bad taste. Sort of like electing a guy who:
  1. Campaigned on transparency but crafts policy by secret meeting
  2. Promised, as a constitutional-law professor, to end the Cheney/Bush War-on-Terror civil-rights rape, but caved on (or even extended):
  3. Failed to prosecute what were clearly war crimes, thus making it arguable that such outrages are legal.

Health care: "At least fewer uninsured people will die".
Obama: "At least we elected a black guy".

It's painful when you look at what we could have had, and what the Serious Pragmatists actually delivered.

5 Comments:

At 4:49 PM, Blogger Alexa Weber Morales said...

Excellent points. However, you left out the ban on using "pre-existing conditions" (it's sad that bureaucratic neologism doesn't even make us wince anymore) and the ban on having a cap on lifetime payouts (no more "we'll treat your HIV or cancer up till $1 million, then you're on your own"). Larry O's point is exactly right, and it really baffles me that the deficit we've run up over the last 9 years is not disturbing to so-called conservatives. The arguments against HC from the right were quite weak and irrational. However, the under-the-table dealing is bothersome, if to be expected.

Overall, however, I think it was a victory. AND more importantly I think it illustrates both the beauty and the cruft of our tripartite democracy. Obama is but the executive. He can't turn this train around on his own (nor, for all we know, may he want to). Then there's the Pentagon, and big business of every stripe. These huge forces are in control, but the combined forces of average citizens have been effective recently, and this is the second big example (the first being Obama's election). We must keep the momentum.

 
At 9:58 PM, Blogger Jeffrey said...

Wow Rick, I have to say I think I agreed with every single point you made! I just wouldn't have been able to state the points anywhere nearly as eloquently as you have. Good job. And thank you.

 
At 11:58 PM, Blogger lupus said...

Alexa, you are so right. Rescinding coverage is an evil whose demise (assuming it happens) ought to be celebrated. Thank you for a breath of optimism (or at least positive thinking) to leaven my Eeyore political outlook.

And Jeff, thanks. But as you can see, I left some key things out!

 
At 12:21 AM, Blogger lupus said...

BTW, read John Scalzi on this.

 
At 12:32 AM, Anonymous Jonathan D said...

Rant on brother, rant on! For it is only through civil discourse that we learn to truely think. As disappointed as I am that single payer got shot down for now, I am more than pleased that the absurd "doughnut hole" will finally get closed. Can't complain about Obama being a pragmatist as his election did not change the fact that essentially the same cast of idiots were still in Congress and I've known all along that he was a centrist with progressive leanings. Now I have to go fume about Nelson trying to cover his ass by not voting for the "fix-it" bill because he's against a government "takeover" of student loans.

 

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