Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kill The Bill?

Every time I think that the “health care reform” debate cannot possibly get any sillier… I know I’ve said that before, but this thing is reaching truly colossal proportions of insanity; now the left wing wants to kill the bill and start over after almost a year of…

“Left wing” is not accurate, though; the ones who want the bill killed are the people who are more interested in punishing insurance companies than they are in accomplishing any actual reform. They want this bill killed because it doesn’t sufficiently thrash the insurance companies rather than because of anything that it does or doesn’t do for the people of the nation. Like a bunch of little kids who don't get to set the rules so they are going to take their toys and go home.

For-profit health insurance is the method we have for processing payments of health care. We have made the decision that we are not going to change that, so trying to make for-profit companies operate on a non-profit basis is just stupid. Supporters of reform went off track when they decided to make the insurance industry the target of their efforts rather than focusing on what they could do to help their fellow citizens, and they have been stewing in their own bile for so long that they have become utterly deranged.

Keith Olbermann started off last night with, “And now, as promised, a special comment on HR-3590, the Senate bill on health care reform.” The subject has so unbalanced him that he no longer knows the difference between a House resolution, prefaced with the letters “HR,” and a Senate bill which is prefaced with the letter “S.” Given that he didn’t know which bill, or which legislative body, he was talking about, I didn’t bother to listen to the special comment.

Killing the bill and, in its place, passing a series of smaller bills might not be a bad idea. Many of them could be passed with a simple majority, others could survive the filibuster, and the sum of them might very well be a better and faster result than the grand gesture of this massive bill. Obama and the Democratic leadership are frantically trying to prevent that because reform is not their primary purpose either; they want to be able to take credit for the grand gesture itself, and without the passage of the massive bill that purpose is defeated.

Killing the bill because it “is not good enough” or because it “does not do enough” is just ridiculous. I’m not sure I like the “incrementalism” approach of pass the beginning of reform now and build on it after it is in place. What we get with the incremental implementation is too often a patched-up messy product, but it does work. Congressman Weiner, on Countdown last night, was dead wrong when he decried that approach and said that we have not improved on Medicare since it was first passed; it has been expanded dramatically. It was originally only for the indigent and was expanded to cover everyone above age 65, people who are disabled and children under SCHIP; and the Part D drug coverage was added.

Meanwhile, this whole reform thing has been so badly botched, with almost a full year of airing a nasty pile of dirty laundry, that while the public still likes small parts of this steaming pile of manure, they have turned against the concept as a whole in droves.

Update: Okay, Keith Olbermann's not knowing what the letters in front of the number of the bill stand for may not be due to stress induced by the subject matter. He may just not know.

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