My latest piece is up at AIP and its about how health care reform reminds me a lot of my ex-wife:
I think it would be extremely helpful if Americans began to think of President Obama’s health care reform proposals the same way I think of my first wife. The more you know about it, the less you like it.
And the fact that it lacks common sense, spends too much of your money, makes decisions that would be better left in your hands, and is attractive on the outside while being insidiously rotten on the inside is also reminiscent of my former beloved, although at least my ex-amour was a great dancer and a decent cook. Otherwise, I would recommend a Vegas divorce for this monstrosity of a bill.
One of the major selling points that the president used for his national health care reform was that it would lower insurance premiums substantially. He promised on his campaign web site, in the second presidential debate, and in the third debate:
“If you have health insurance, then you don’t have to do anything. If you’ve got health insurance through your employer, you can keep your health insurance, keep your choice of doctor, keep your plan. … And we estimate we can cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 per year.”
We Americans can be a pretty cynical lot when it comes to believing politicians so it is a wonder that we actually fell for this little prevarication from Candidate Obama.
We know now that the prospects of keeping your insurance depends on how willing you are to overspend for it. That’s because Candidate Obama’s promise to lower your premiums by $2500 are about as believable as my ex-wife’s explanation for why she spent $1500 on a dress. “But it was on sale…” just doesn’t cut it.
Supporters will probably tell me I’m all wet, that we will save money on our premiums, that we won’t be forced on to the government plan, that costs will come down simply by government waving a magic wand,…
Sorry, but you can spin what’s in the bill all you want and it won’t change the practical effect of what is implied in adopting many of the measures in the bill. This is what supporters refuse to address.
Is there anything in the bill that would require you to drop your insurance that you have now? No - but the practical effect would be to make it prohibitively expensive and force you to choose less coverage for more money - unless you are eligible for the subsidy that doesn’t cover you if you’re part of an employer based insurance plan.
Faulty numbers, insidious requirements, stealth mandates - its all there.
Do I have a viable alternative? No, I don’t. But others do and, as I have said before, it is criminally negligent of the Democrats to present this monstrosity of a bill as the only alternative - that there’s no other game in town. Baucus is looking at some of those alternatives as I write this, although without including a public option in his compromise, it is doubtful that Obama will sign it much less the liberals in the House support it.
I have to believe there is a third way - somewhere. There has got to be a combination out there of public and private that will cover the uninsured and those with pre-existing conditions, bring down costs intelligently, while keeping the best of the private health care system in place, and not cost us $1.5 trillion I refuse to believe that this is not possible - even in our current partisan atmosphere.
I agree we cannot go on as we are now. Those who say we don’t need reform are crazy. Rising health care costs will bankrupt us in 20 years. But to support this bill is to support catastrophe for our health care system as well as for our fiscal situation. Don’t believe me? Ask other Democrats who are the ones standing in the way of passing this bill, not Republicans.
Don’t tell me this is as good as we can do “realistically.” I don’t believe that for a moment. They are big boys and girls in the White House and Capitol Hill. If things are as bad as they say - and they are, except it’s not quite the “emergency” we are being led to believe - then the judgment of the people who believe that this is a crucial issue will be severe if nothing is done.
And, I daresay, the blame will go to both parties. The GOP cannot be accused of “obstructionism” - not with the gigantic Democratic majorities in both chambers. But they will be blamed for not offering solid alternatives. Republicans should be out there every day touting their own plan. Instead, they have decided to treat it as a PR gimmick rather than a serious legislative initiative.
And I will repeat - Obama is not taking the lead on this as he should. He is not being realistic in his criticisms, nor is he doing much besides jawboning from the sidelines. His one effort at compromise - the health commission - was shot down by the CBO as being meaningless in controlling costs. Face it- the guy is an empty suit; all talk and no action.
In that respect, if health care reform is dropped or goes down to defeat, President Obama will be as much to blame as anyone.