What are we looking at coming out of Congress for reform of the health care industry of this country?
Howard Dean isn't too thrilled anymore. As he sees it, it has been pretty watered down already. And there is still the final form in the Senate to get to, and the final joint bill from both houses. The main issue is the lack of insurance reform. Any form of public option sees to be about the bulk of what we can hope for. I do like the thinking we have to hope it passes quickly and gets to use so people can see its benefit. As it stands it will be years before it goes into motions after passing, leaving people alone with the unreformed insurance industry looking at masses open to be picked upon.
It is not thrilling.
Robert Reich also shares some thoughts on this. He can see how what public option there is still is being wheedled away. It is unclear what will be left. Reich wants Senators to stand up and fight and push for a real option for the U.S. public.
But I am concerned.
Josh Marshall gives a thoughtful and sobering view of just how things sit now. And what it may come down to is this. Who will be covered in the public option. Answer, a very small number of Americans. It could just be a dump for those insurers don't want to deal with. So everyone will be forced to buy insurance, and those that the industry don't want get shuffled to the government. It is all win for insurers. Now if the plan was truly universal, so we all could get in...it would be different. This is not talked about. And this also leaves the question of how robust the option would be, how much coverage would one get? Or what other aspects of health care will be rewritten (tort law, abortion access, women's health, etc.)?
What are we fighting for now? A plan that is meager? One that will hurt access for some? A plan that will be sub par? Why? This is a simple idea, how does congress on government in general hose it up like this?
Let's look at the big applause line for Dem leaders.
We have a bipartisan bill.
Yeah. And? Who care? As we have seen, from stimulus to health care reform. To meet the bipartisan goal (at least in the last few years) has meant liberal pistons being eroded, and conservative ones being supported.
Need stimulus? Want to get money into the public's hands? Let's give tax cuts, and cut spending and monetary support to the public. OKAY. Will Reps help now. "No, you commie!"
Want health care for everyone? Let's force people into the hands of insurers. Let's strip away the public option. Let's give the insurers more power. Reps on board. "Screw you!" How about at least the blue dogs? "Couldn't we do less?" "Hey, let's also cut access to abortions and pay for people to be prayed over." So you'll help us now? "Bite me, Stalin!"
Honestly, tell me, what has been gained in seeking bipartisanship over this year? Hell, blue dogs have been acting like a fifth column.
We will pass a bill.
A bill? A bill. The word a is being used there in place of another word...ANY. They will try and pass any bill. They wanted a non-public option bill. We pushed them to an trigger, then opt-in, then opt-out, and then a actual (small) option. Now in the Senate it is rolling back again. And Harry Reid is trying to compromise (concede) with blue dogs...he is trying to get them to buy a trigger option. This fight is among Dems. Too many of them lack the will to make the bog move to vote to offer major support to the public. And if Reid realty believed the bill as it is was the answer, he would actually be considering reconciliation. And he ain't doing that.
And so we have these two points, be partisan and get a bill. Why? As the link above notes, it is about face. It is about being able to say that it is a bill that all sides support. Plus, we passed the bill...we did something...Great.
Reform is about more than saying you want to do something, or you would like something to be. You actually need to create serious change.