Home > Uncategorized > A few things about Obamacare

A few things about Obamacare

There are a number of things about Obamacare that bother me. There are things about the process, things about the substance, and things about the style. There are things about the people involved, too. The real problem is where to start? When Alice asked the Caterpillar the same question, the caterpillar replied, “Begin at the beginning, and when you come to the end, stop!” The only difficulty is that there are so many places to start, and the end is nowhere in sight. So, in no particular order, here are a few things.

Alcee Hastings. What can I say? A Federal judge, impeached for bribery and corruption, found guilty, and thrown off the bench, is then elected to the House of Representatives by a district in Florida.  His quote about the process of reconciliation and deem and pass? “There ain’t no rules around here, we’re trying to accomplish something.”  And “therefore, when the deal goes down, all this talk about rules, we make them up as we go along.” And the congressmen all wonder why the people are annoyed?

In what has to be my favorite political endorsement of the year, even better that Sean Penn’s billet doux to Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro announced that he fully supported Obamacare. My mother always told me that a man was known by the company he keeps. Apparently, hearing no denunciations of the communist dictator’s endorsement, we can conclude that Obama is pleased by this vote of confidence. But then again, he was slow to denounce Rev. Wright, and never did denounce Bill Ayers.

The health care reform bill shouldn’t really be called that. Since Huey Long, oops, I mean Obama, has been demonizing the insurance companies, it should be called the health insurance reform bill. First off, you should know that insurance costs, as a percentage of US health care spending, are about four percent. So when the politicians talk about controlling costs, they really don’t mean it. If they did, there are bigger cuts and more savings elsewhere. Why is there no tort reform? Can anyone say trial lawyer lobby? Where are the reforms of the hidden costs of the AMA limiting the number of medical school slots available to prospective students?

Before the bill’s passage, there were, according to the proponents, about thirty million people without insurance. After the bill’s passage, there will be about twenty-one million. A year’s debate, thousands upon thousands of hours of work, deal making, conferencing, and all the rest, all for what? So we cover an additional nine million people? That’s the best they could do? It’s clear that increasing the number of people covered was not the goal here.

When all is said and done, and that will be a long time from now, the things this bill doesn’t do is impressive. It doesn’t make health care more available. It doesn’t make health care better. It doesn’t make health care more affordable. It doesn’t create more primary care doctors. It doesn’t provide for more care in traditionally underserved areas, like Appalachia or the Indian reservations. It doesn’t make prescription drugs any cheaper. So I find the moniker “health care reform” ambitious, if not downright foolish.

What it does do is regulate the insurance companies. They can’t do this, they can’t do that. They must do this, they must do that. It regulates us. We, i.e. the people, will be forced to purchase insurance, whether or not we want it. Why? So that the insurance companies will have a larger pool of clients and be able to collect premiums from healthy people to pay for sick people.

Remember that this was pushed upon us under the guise of a “crisis situation.” But also remember that so was the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, and the war in Iraq. Aldous Huxley told us years ago that “continued crisis breeds continued control.”

Reconciliation and deem and pass are both political maneuvers to allow congressmen to claim they never voted for this bill. This will be big come election time. After Watergate, it was hard to find someone who had voted for Nixon, even though he won in a landslide. My guess is, that it will be very hard to find a congressman who will admit to having voted for this bill when November rolls around. But remember George Orwell’s dictum that “whoever controls history, controls the future.” Don’t let the political machines make you forget who did what when it’s time to vote. I can’t imagine that a clean sweep of the House and Senate would be a bad thing.

There are a few things to remember about this collection of miscreants in office. And to be fair, there are some notably principled people in the congress. Unfortunately they are in the minority. But most of them are happy to be thugs and thieves, demagogues and deceivers.

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