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Mar. 22nd, 2010

Insurance only works when you can collect on it. As it stands, insurance in America doesn't work, because insurance companies are free to collect your money until such time as they have to pay out, at which point they can discover that you had a pre-existing condition and drop you. Or they can decide you're too expensive, and drop you.

So if you've ever been sick before, or if you're really sick now, you can't have health insurance that will pay your bills. If you're healthy and always have been, you can pay them. Until you need it.

The legislation that passed last night does a little bit to rectify that. It still puts us dead last amongst all the modern democracies in terms of health care. This is certainly *not* what the founding fathers envisioned. In fact, Benjamin Franklin founded the first volunteer fire department, and then sought government funding for those associations. Why? To protect the body politic, and to leverage government power and funding towards that end. If medicine had been anything other than leech-craft and superstition at the time, it's dead certain that access to it would have been enshrined in the Constitution.

I'm dissatisfied because I don't believe that the bill that passed goes near far enough, and so many of the painful compromises were always intended to lure Republican support which surely was never genuinely in the offing, no matter how watered down. But at least it's a start. Of course most of its protections don't take affect for another year, or in some cases four - that should be plenty of time for the insurance companies to drop everyone who's actually sick. Once their rolls are clear of people that actually need insurance, they'll be quite profitable, since they'll be more than replaced with healthy people now required to purchase insurance.

But if any of those healthy people subsequently get sick - at least they can count on consistent insurance coverage. It's too late for my generation, and possibly the next...but maybe the young folk to follow will be not entirely cheated.

Thanks Democrats, for doing so little, so late, and so poorly! And thanks, Republicans, for making even that nearly impossible.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 22nd, 2010 08:40 pm (UTC)
I don't buy that there was ever any serious considerations of bringing Republicans into the fold. All the real compromises were between the conservative and centrist Democrats, with the real liberal Dems being told to suck it up.

Still, I think that yesterday's vote places real health care reform about a generation closer than it would be had the bills failed.
Mar. 22nd, 2010 08:46 pm (UTC)
Well, you might be right about the Republicans never really being "in the fold" ...but then it's not as if their opposition wasn't evident from the start. They didn't enter into the debate saying, "We're glad to tackle this issue, here are our ideas, let's compromise." They entered into it saying, from the start, "We are against this, we will oppose anything you do."

Maybe what overtures were made were just a fig-leaf to cover the real wranglings (internal Democratic bargaining)..but hey, the overtures were made!
Mar. 22nd, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC)
I have never understood Republican opposition to a national healthcare plan. For one thing, it makes no sense that employers should have to assume the burden of providing healthcare for workers and their families. How much more competitive could American industry be if out from under that burden?

The "death panel" scare is also nonsensical to me. People were hysterical over the idea that our government would decide to let certain people die if their treatment was deemed too expensive. Like insurance companies don't have those types of meetings routinely as part of the status quo. Like insurance companies don't already collect personal information about people during medical treatment that can and is used against them at any time- and this is a regular part of doing business. Why are conservatives working so hard to protect that?

Mar. 22nd, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
I can't say for sure why conservatives are working so hard to protect the worst abuses of the current system. I suppose it's because any impediment to profit-making by any industry at all is counter to Conservative ideals, regardless of the cost in human suffering. These are the folks that opposed child labor laws, 40 hour work weeks, collective bargaining, and countless other cases where unrestricted trade was counted as more valuable than human decency.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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