Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for March 21st, 2010

In which Dean Baker tells Phoenix Woman that she’s probably mostly wrong

Posted by Charles II on March 21, 2010

Dean Baker, an economist with whom I often agree (except for thinking he is totally full of it on the pharmaceutical industry) says this:

The passage of President Obama’s health care reform will make a difference in the live of tens of millions of people. The subsidies will make insurance affordable to millions of families who could not pay the unsubsidized rate. More importantly, by prohibiting insurers from discriminating against people with serious health conditions, those who are currently covered will have real insurance for the first time. People will no longer have to worry that a serious illness will cause them to lose their job and then their insurance.

This is real progress, but the bill does little to change the fact that health care in the United States is ridiculously expensive and, if current trends continue, will grow more unaffordable through time.

He unfortunately proposes medical tourism (like your average family can take off for Thailand for an appendectomy?) and destroying the financial incentives that formerly made the US pharmaceutical industry the envy of the world (before globalization allowed companies to do their research in Bangladesh and then ship it to the US) as solutions. These are not solutions. But this part of what he says is very true:

We can yap all we want about health care reform, but the reality is that Washington is a cesspool. The special interests own the place and there is no plausible story in which legislation that seriously challenges the interests of the medical industrial complex has a prayer of passage any time soon.

The Democrats had a chance to do something really transformational. They have instead succeeded in putting a Bandaid on a broken system. It will slow the bleeding, but not heal the wound. Costs will continue to plague the system, but now they will become budgetary problems. While Obama is president, there’s a chance of fixing this horrible mess. The first time that Republicans seize political control, they will cut medical coverage in the name of deficit reduction until enough people die that they lose power again. Or until the whole country dissolves into anarchy from a loss of faith in government.

Posted in Congress, corruption, health care | 1 Comment »

In Which I Wish, Desperately, That I Was Wrong

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 21, 2010

As I write this, Congressional Democrats are about to give, at great political cost to themselves, the insurance, pharmaceutical and other health-care industries in America a big fat gift that will further enrich them at our expense, that will eventually eliminate all coverage for abortion in all insurance plans nationwide, and that will force the 45-million-odd Americans who aren’t on the health-insurance company rolls because they can’t afford health insurance to cough up thousands of dollars they don’t have to buy insurance that will be even worse and more expensive than it is today, or face the wrath of the IRS. And all of this without a robust public option to provide the competition needed to keep the insurance companies from gouging us.

Why are they doing this? Apparently because they’ve been told, over and over again, that President Obama is doomed if they don’t. The irony is that, in being forced to vote for this massive turkey, they have not only sealed their doom come November, but their loss will bring about the very 1994-style electoral doom for Obama that they’re told they must prevent at all costs. Republicans are licking their chops and are already hurling a flurry of anti-mandate amendments at the bill, amendments they know will fail, just so they can use their opposition to insurance mandates to score points with voters in the coming campaign ads we’ll be carpet-bombed with for the next six months.

Aside from a stimulus bill that was half the size it needed to be, and now a bill that gives trillions to the health and insurance industries and sticks us with the bill even as it aims another blow at Roe v. Wade, Obama and the Democrats haven’t got very much done over the past year even when they had 60 seats in the Senate and 257 in the House. What happens after they get their clocks cleaned this November? They won’t be able to “fix” the bill even if they wanted to — and so long as they value the deals of May 11, 2009 more than the wishes of their constituents, they won’t want to anyway. (Not that the currently-fashionable crop of corporate-owned Democrats have done much revisiting of bad bills they’d promised to “fix”. See also: NAFTA and DADT.)

I wish, desperately, that I was wrong. I fear that I am not.

(Crossposted at DailyKos.)

Posted in 2010, abortion, Democrats, health care, President Obama, Republicans, safety net | 22 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: