Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sausage & Policy

As part of a busy week, I spent time last week pissed off with the perverted health care finance bill as it has come to be during Senate deliberations. The bill is egregiously bad—it provides a guaranteed income base for an already rich industry with few guarantees that the for-profit insurers will actually fulfill the promises of the bill. It may expand insurance to 30 million uninsured. It may end discrimination via pre-existing condition rest. Much of it will not come into effect until 2014. For THIS I compromised? What a fucking fool I am.

Yep, I didn’t insist on a single payer, unified system that would eliminate all this bullshit. I was responsible, not an ideologue. And look what I got—another jury-rigged system that does nothing to simplify health care and will in many respects entrench the flaws of the current system.

THEY, on the other hand, didn’t compromise. They being all he self-interested parties who did a masterful job of confusing, bamboozling and frightening most Americans. Opportunists plateau-bargained, upping their demands and conditions with each concession made in their direction. They just drew their lines, shouted long and loud, flooded congress with lobbyists, spouted misinformation and delayed, delayed, delayed. In the end, they forced congress and the president to accept more of the same with some regulation (which can be further thwarted in design and implementation) and government subsidies that will further enrich the insurance industry at the public’s expense.

During all this, I called my senators and congressman asking for more unified and rational health care finance. I signed petitions. I did all that shit. And supposedly millions of others did the same. But it makes no difference. We still end up paying for profit. Our nation, our economy and individuals also pay in the form of lost opportunity due to ill health. None of that will change under this bill. It’s still the same fucking story.

Paul Krugman says we should support passage to get what accomplishment we can out of all this effort. So does Ted Kennedy’s widow. Something’s better than nothing, right? After being ass-fucked by Republicans and their health and insurance industry allies, I could find some satisfaction in shoving this goddamned bill down their throat. Even better, doing it on Christmas Eve.

But that still leaves this nation with another lost opportunity in designing a health care system that is rational, fair, effective and affordable. Krugman and Kennedy argue that this year’s legislation is one step. That’s true, as far as it goes. But the last step was taken in 1965 when Medicare was created and that was really the first step in a journey that began in the late 1940’s. In the meantime, every other major industrialized nation in the world has made that journey ahead of America.

Of course, what I think and want is of no consequence to anyone other than me. It sure hasn’t affected the direction of health care financing in this nation.



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