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.