More Thoughts on Health Care Reform

One of the more interesting things to me about all this is that so many people are so sure that they absolutely hate this bill.  I don't expect everyone to be excited about it.  About half of us think government is more the problem than the solution.  I don't expect that half to be glad that the government is getting more involved in health care, but please be reasonable.

Let me say it again, this bill you're denouncing as Socialism is a moderate Republican's health insurance reform bill.  It's remarkably similar to one Chafee (R) proposed in 1993 and what Bob Dole (R), Howard Baker (R), and Tom Daschle (D) proposed last year.  It is the result of months of negotiations among the Gang of Six (R: Enzi, Grassley, Snowe; D: Baucus, Bingaman, Conrad). It contains a multitude of Republican amendments.  Yes, the government will be more involved than it is now, but that doesn't mean you get to redefine Socialism.  No, the vote wasn't bipartisan, but that was by design of the GOP's strategy for regaining power and not Obama's desire or the bill's actual merits.

If you, like the vast majority of us, get your health insurance via an employer-subsidized plan, then the government is already helping you out in big ways...ways that it isn't helping those who must get coverage on the individual market.  It is subsidizing employer-sponsored coverage to the tune of $250 billion per year by excluding that form of income from income tax.  Furthermore, pre-existing conditions are not an issue in the employer-based market because of government regulation (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996).  Why is it that you deserve these benefits but someone who is out of work or only able to get part-time work or is a freelancer does not?

It's not true that a majority opposes this bill because it is too liberal.  It is true that about half of us favor it or think it is not liberal enough.  Congress isn't ignoring the will of the people.  Obama and the Democrats ran on health reform and won the White House and large majorities in Congress.  Now they are delivering on a major campaign promise.  This is not an act tyranny.  This is democracy.

Also, there are no actual pro-abortion dimensions to the bill.  Claiming otherwise despite the facts diminishes our credibility as pro-lifers...and credibility is something we greatly need to be able to change hearts and minds about abortion.

I seem to have noticed a trend away from "Leave health care alone!  Our system is the best in the world!" to "Everyone agrees we need reform, but not this reform!"  OK, what do you want?  Tort reform?  Fine, but that's a drop in the bucket.  End discrimination against pre-existing conditions?  If you do that, then you need the individual mandate...otherwise only the sick will buy insurance.  If you have the individual mandate, then it's more important than ever to have adequate subsidies so that everyone can afford it.  Sounds like a decent plan you've got there, but it sounds suspiciously familiar.

In the end, I'm glad more of the minority will now have the access to affordable health care that the majority of us already have.  I hope you can understand that even if you think I'm misguided.

Comments

I'm glad you can say so calmly and intelligently what I want to scream at people as I wack them with my purse. Thanks for that. I would post this on my blog linking back to you, but I don't want you to suffer the wrath. :)

I keep thinking that if Matt were to lose his job, we'd be DESPERATE for some kind of coverage for ourselves (Jonah would still have his medicaid). AND what if Jonah didn't have Medicaid, Matt lost his job, we couldn't pay the COBRA payments (which are CRAZY high), and Jonah had a lapse in coverage. I am so thankful for the restricion on refusing coverage to people with a pre-existing condition AND expansion of Medicaid. There are so many people who are too poor to buy individual insurance but are too "rich" to qualify for Medicaid. It took us 8 mths for Jonah, and without help from donations, we would have been wiped clean or had to sell the house in the process. Ridiculous.

I just don't think some of these people really get how bad it is because they haven't been there. And not everyone who needs help is a lazy bum. Grrr.

Okay, I'm done with my novel. Thanks :)

Thanks Patrice.