Screwing it up

>> Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oh, well, now that's just fucking swell:

Sen. Max Baucus on Wednesday released the much-awaited Finance Committee version of an American health-system remake — a landmark $856 billion, 10-year measure that starts a rough ride through Congress without visible Republican backing.

The bill by Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee, would make major changes to the nation's $2.5 trillion health care system, including requiring all individuals to purchase health care or pay a fine, and language prohibiting insurance company practices like charging more to people with more serious health problems.

There's no public option. There are, reportedly, these idiotic "co-ops" that are a watered-down version of the public option. People who don't purchase insurance would be fined--unless they can prove they can't afford insurance (heaven help the marginalized people who earn enough to purchase health insurance so long as they're not-so-concerned with things like food and shelter).

Fuck. Me. I should have know the idjits would screw it up.

I already covered some of this recently: mandatory-purchase is an awful scheme. It's not like auto insurance, where you can opt out simply by not being a driver. And the lack of a public option rubs salt in the gash because what this amounts to is a forced subsidy of the insurance industry that has played such a huge role in fucking up healthcare to start with. Of course this shouldn't be a huge surprise: last week Janiece Murphy (among others) pointed out that Senator Baucus is a whore who will let the insurance company stick it anywhere for a few bucks (my words, not hers).

One of the fears I think a lot of us on the left have had is that the kind of bill that Congress would produce to appease the Republicans and "blue dogs" would be worse than no bill, and certainly it sounds like what Baucus' committee has crapped out fits that description. In all fairness, I haven't read this bill--maybe it's better than it sounds, but right now it sounds like the worst of all worlds. And granted, this is just the Finance Committee version--there's still a number of steps before something like an actual vote.

But this is not encouraging. If this actually makes it to the President's desk, I'll actually find myself hoping that the President vetoes something he pushed for and something that was part of the reason I voted for him.

I'd ask what they were thinking, but I know what they were thinking. Maybe there's no hope for this country to evolve a modern healthcare system on a European model until there's effective campaign finance reform... oh, guess what? That's not going to happen with a conservative Supreme Court that can't tell the difference between small green pieces of paper and speech. Never mind, we're screwed.

Who'd'a thunk I'd think about moving to Canada with a Democrat in the White House.

On a tangential note, because I've been thinking about it: there have been some pundits--many of them idiots--who have noticed that the President's (and Congress') approval ratings have largely been in free-fall. I'm not going to bother with links, because if you go to Google and throw a metaphorical stone, you'll hit one (and to steal a line from Barton Fink, throw it hard). One of the several problems with the smugness radiating from some of these commentators is that some of these polls obfuscate reality (as polls often do): I don't particularly approve of Congress right now, and I have misgivings about the President's performance on some matters that would show up depending on how you phrase a question, but at the moment I wouldn't vote for a Republican if you (let's borrow another line from the Coens) shoved a pistol up my ass and pulled the fucking trigger 'til it goes click. (Sorry. Maybe that's too blunt even for me. But it's still true.) I have no idea how the 2010 elections will go--the Republicans may well win a majority in Congress for all sorts of reasons that may or may not reflect folks' feelings about the President's agenda, and if people want to reject that agenda, oh freakin' well (majorities, including a lot of ostensibly or allegedly "liberal" Democrats have been rejecting a progressive agenda for most of the past thirty years; the faithful will soldier on as we must). But dissatisfaction--nay, fury at certain things our elected leaders are doing or failing to do doesn't necessarily translate into gains for a political party that is hellbent on doing even worse.


Leanright,  Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 12:32:00 PM EDT  

Eric...don't worry about reading the bill. Most in Congress won't either.

vince Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 11:00:00 PM EDT  

I've tried to find a copy to read, but so far haven't had any luck. Requiring all individuals to purchase health care make me wonder how he expects people with little or no money to pay for insurance? I'd really like to see what exactly "can't afford to purchase health insurance" actually means. And what would been done for these people? Nothing?

I can't see how he's going to lower costs so people can afford it. And no matter how cheap, people on the edge, the unemployed, the homeless - people who have no money or who can barely afford food and a place to live won't have any extra money to make another payment.

This reminds me of the Whitechapel section of London during the mid to late 1800's. In 1873 the Rev. Samuel Barnett moved to St. James vicarage. In an area where existence was hand to mouth; where the average income was less than 21 shilling per week and as much as half of that was needed to pay rent, the good reverend would only help people who were he would be thrifty and show better money management. But as Jack London would later point out in "The People of the Abyss", this was equivalent to a lowering of the standard of living.

Dear Sen. Baucus, people who don't have health care don't have it BECAUSE THEY CAN'T AFFORD TO PAY FOR IT! What part of this don't you get?

Fuck me running, I don't get these people. I just don't.

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