Friday, December 18, 2009

Health care reform: Maybe it'll look better in hindsight

I am very dissatisfied with the compromise piece of garbage the Senate has created and tried to call health care reform. I am also highly dissatisfied with the behavior of the White House and President Obama during the last six months. Howard Dean's recent announcement that the bill has gotten so bad that we should just kill it and come back for another try frankly resonates strongly with me.

Only, I recall the effort in 1993, and now 2009 is the next try. Sixteen years delay. That's a lot of insurance company unearned profits and quite a few Americans dead, sicker than they should be for much longer than they should be and many, many unnecessary bankruptcies.

I've got a list of some of the flaws in the Senate HCR bill as it was last night which I won't even bother to post. But the big one that I hear is the problem of the mandates demanding that people pay up to 17% of their annual income to private insurers for health insurance that will still stick them with annual and lifetime caps and shift a lot of the expense from the insurance to the sick people. But of the 47 million estimated uninsured, this bill still insured 31 million more.

It's a step. A big one. And while is has a lot of flaws, it moves the correct direction in a large jump and in a reasonable (if slow) period of time. This needs to be done regardless of how bad the bill is. Get this done now, and then fix what doesn't work, because this is still fixing a whole lot of what does not work today. Except for the piece of crap that was Part D of Medicare (the unfinanced drug bill with the doughnut hole to save money) there has been no major positive improvement in the health care system since the Medicare bill in 1965.

So for anyone who thinks that Howard Dean's call to kill the bill and start over, take a look at the history of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation as presented by TPM Reader PT.

This health care reform bill is massively significant for the nation. It can be moved towards right now, or it can be killed now, to someday in the far future be again resurrected - at massive cost to the nation. The really big flaws in the current bill and feeding the massive egos of Senators Nelson and Lieberman notwithstanding, it is still time to pass the damned bill they allow us. It will be fixed afterwards. It will have to be. But that will be much easier than this initial restructuring of the system.

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