Why I CAN’T be on board with this health care reform thing.

2010/03/21

I wrote a longer version of this over in my Facebook notes page that directly addressed, point-by-point,  a propaganda piece posted by the White House. I thought it deserved a mention in my own blog.

I agree that health care in the U.S. could use some fixing. Insurance costs keep rising and rising, pricing many people out of needed coverage. Generally healthy people are denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Health care reform’s time has come and it’s the right thing to do.

But the bills Congress is voting on tonight and in the days or weeks to come are not the right thing, because of these major ethical blind spots:

1. Key congressional votes had to be extorted. A good plan doesn’t need bribery. But that’s precisely what it took to persuade some non-party-line-toeing Democrats to go along with it — a new hospital here, an exemption from Medicare cuts there — and the rest of the country’s footing the bill. That’s not right. That’s wrong.

2. The truly indigent and uninsured STILL won’t be covered. The homeless, especially the mentally ill, won’t be able to pay into the system and yet they need the health care more than the rest of us. And how about the absolute weakest among us: the unborn? As currently written, this bill doesn’t protect them if their mothers won’t. Again…wrong. And, related to this point…

3. It treats abortion as essential health care. Even if one doesn’t think life begins at conception, one must concede that abortion should then be considered elective surgery at best. The American people shouldn’t be paying for elective surgery — especially because in the eyes of many people, including myself, it’s ending an individual life.

The latest news has President Obama promising an executive order banning abortion funding in health care reform, which swayed a crucial bloc of anti-abortion Democrats. The problem with that, I understand, is that when an executive order directly conflicts with the bill signed into law, the federal statute takes precedence.
If true, I have to marvel: did Obama knowingly make such an empty promise? Or was he unaware of the executive order vs. law issue? Neither option casts him in a good light.
Bottom line? Abortion’s still in this bill, and it’s still wrong. The truly insane thing is that this whole bill would have passed months ago if not for the pro-abortion crowd’s utter insistence on passing it with the abortion funding sans existing federal restrictions on the practice.

4. It’s fiscally irresponsible. This plan does little to actually address the main reasons for high medical costs (why is there zero tort reform in these bills? Why doesn’t it allow plans to cross state lines?) and, Congressional Budget Office projections notwithstanding, we simply can’t afford it. The only reason it’s “deficit-neutral” is because it begins collecting money from new taxes and cuts from other programs years before it begins paying out any benefit. The amount that’s being spent on this bill is at least twice what it’d take to buy an insurance policy for every uninsured American.

Those are just the major reasons. I won’t go into:
  • the mandated health insurance requirement forcing everyone to get insurance whether they want it or not or
  • that a lot of non-health care stuff is funded (student loans? Really?) or
  • that a majority of polled Americans are against it yet the majority party continues on this course or
  • that the promised-to-be-transparent process was almost completely done in secret or
  • that the health insurance lobby has been oddly silent through all this, especially lately (Hmm.) or
  • that they’re voting into law a massive bill that isn’t even final.
The nation’s gone long enough without meaningful health reform that it’s simply good sense to do it right with relative baby steps instead of doing it wrong all at once and spending the next generation trying to fix the mistake we made.

That’s my take. What’s yours? I’d like to hear some different pro and cons I may not have considered.

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8 Responses to “Why I CAN’T be on board with this health care reform thing.”

  1. Kris Glover Says:

    Know how we sometimes talk about that leap of faith? If you can make it, everything makes perfect sense. If you can’t, it’s all a travesty.

    It’s a shame that Barack Obama is the first politician ever to make a backroom deal to get something passed, and that he’s the first politician ever to have complex funding, and that healthcare isn’t really as important as sending tax rebates to voters or a secondary grudge war.

    As much as I wish it was possible to live in a country where politicians could do these things in the open, and as much as I wish those promises were reasonable, all the planned fearmongering takes place in private. Putting any positive change at a disadvantage.

    My man, you’re going to have to cop to the fact that you just prefer the devil you know.

    • kharisampson Says:

      You’re half-right, Kris. It is a shame that President Obama has turned out to be the politician he promised not to be; that the change he brought to Washington was simply a different brand of demagoguery.

      As for the implication that I prefer Republican control in Washington: I really hate to admit that. But the truth is that progressives, by their very nature, always try to do too much too quickly without really counting the cost. The government is so unwieldy and inefficient at almost everything it does, yet so unable to give up any control it gains, that it’s just better sense to be more conservative in what we entrust to it.

  2. Kris Glover Says:

    Last balanced budget? A progressive president. Now I’m about to make another implication here… Conservatives alway rail about liberal spending, but tend to forget that the deficits grow faster when they are in control. Financial responsibility is certainly not a trait they have earned. The primary problem being that they are overly eager to spend all the money that they are so responsibly saving our great nation, and more, on tax cuts and military endeavors. Also I will take unwieldy inefficiency of a government right now over efficiently aggressive avarice.

    • kharisampson Says:

      Clinton had the help of a hostile Republican Congress to balance that budget while Bush had the help of a party majority to spend it. Obama has racked up more debt in one year than Bush managed to do in eight.

      The bottom line is that the country does better when one party controls the White House and the other, the Congress.

  3. Kris Glover Says:

    Bush and Obama share the budget for 2009. Bush put a great deal of that money into play before Obama got there with those bailouts. Please don’t go “tea party” on me here, I’ve lost too many heroes. Still get sad about Michael Jackson. Anyway, my point was that your problem is not with progressives, it’s with Obama’s spending specifically. Which honestly, is the part of your argument I agree with. I’m just not willing to write it off on all progressives, and honestly, not yet willing to blame Obama.

    Situation was very dire and unique, the second biggest financial collapse in the US history. You could argue the problem is not that Obama spent so much money in a situation where it was very much required, but that the US with all of our boom years left no room to operate when things went so unbelievably badly. And yes, our healthcare system is so ridiculous it needs to be dealt with, whatever the cost, and that’s my honest opinion. So that’s two passes admittedly I’ve given him.

    Now, if in 2011 suddenly he wants to spend another trillion or two on arts, education, or protecting the everglades, whatever, I will then turn on him and take your side.

    • kharisampson Says:

      I think the tea parties are unfairly stereotyped based on their lunatic fringe. Hoping that Obama doesn’t give you reason to turn on him…it won’t be good for anyone.

      • Kris Glover Says:

        The Tea Partiers ARE the lunatic fringe. I knew it when they went whole hog on Obama two months after he took office, and when they showed that they get upset when you point out that Bush was behind the first bailout. I didn’t think they were racists until recently, when you find out that they believe Obama to be racist. I believe that if the tea-party sympathizers in the Republican party left to form their own, the Republican party itself would become likely the most logical major political party in the country.

      • kharisampson Says:

        You’re generalizing. The truth is, in principle I agree with much of the tea party position — that government is growing too quickly, too recklessly, too invasively and too heedlessly of too large a proportion of the electorate.

        When a majority of the people your representative government is supposed to represent is opposed to an action yet you refuse to address their concerns and continue on the course you have chosen, then you find yourself touring the nation to try to convince that majority whom you didn’t bother to listen to before that this is a good thing like the president is doing now.


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