Monday, March 22, 2010

That's All, Folks.

The Washington Post is reporting that the health care bill has passed in the House by a vote of 219 in favor and 212 against. So, now that all the votes have been taken, and conservatives and Republicans have egg on their faces, I have a few thoughts:
  • I'm come away with mixed feelings. Like many, I have long thought that the health care system needed an overhaul. I've gone without insurance, not knowing how I could afford the medicines I take for depression and racking up bills while off of insurance. During one of those times I was without insurance, I came down with a severe infection that landed me in the hospital. If it wasn't for a government-sponsored plan (in this case, Medicaid) I would have faced a huge bill that I would still be paying for today, some fourteen years later. So, I know that there needs to be reform and I acknowledge that the government has to have a role. I am glad the current bill would ban insurers from using pre-existing conditions as a way to not insure people.That said, I don't like this current bill and what it will create in America. I'm not worried about a "government takeover," but I am concerned that about how this program will pay or not pay for itself. I tend to believe that this will impose a new entitlement on Americans that we can't afford. If you thought the addition of prescription drug benefits to Medicare was costly, just wait. Peter Suderman and Douglas Holz-Akin do a good job of trying to explain that the supposed savings of this plan are just that, supposed.
  • Does anyone really believe when Republicans say that they are going work to repeal this bill? I mean, who the hell are they kidding? Are you really going to tell older Americans that they will reinstate the so-called "donut hole" in currently in Medicare? That's not gonna happen, and those bloggers and politicians that are pushing for repeal are either lying or smoking something.
  • I've already said this before, but I think the GOP really blew it in their handling of health care. They expected a repeat of 1994. That didn't happen. Then they hoped that socially conservative Democrats would block the bill because of fears that it would fund abortions. They didn't expect the President to make deals with those Democrats. David Frum had a good piece about a year ago about the so-called "Goldwater myth" that allowed the Dems to spend like crazy and invest in programs that were wasteful. 1994 might not be repeating itself, but 1964 surely is.
  • I also don't see Congress going back to "fix" things later. We've spent a year debating this bill, does anyone think we want to go back to debate again? Megan McArdle is correct:
    Those like my colleague Andrew, who want Republicans to turn to the task of improving this monstrous bill--how is that going to happen? The "fixes" are all the unpopular stuff: the taxes, the spending cuts. You think that now that Democrats got to hand out the goodies, Republicans are going to be the nasty folks who volunteer to hand around the bill for a law they didn't even want to pass?

    Every time I hear comments on this sort of thing, I want to say, "And what other things have you been wondering during your visit to our planet?"

For better or for worse, and I think there is a little bit of both, we are stuck with this bill. I'm glad we might be able to give health care to millions of Americans that are without it, but I do have to wonder at what cost, and if we can afford that cost.

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