Quick Hit: Health Care Reform

Well, it’s done.  The House has passed the Senate bill, and the package of reconciliation fixes.

There are a bunch of good things that kick in quickly, and that’s a big plus.  Some thirty-odd million more people are going to have health care coverage, and insurance companies will (at least in theory, though I expect they’ll find whatever ways around this they can) be prohibited from denying coverage to or retroactively rescinding coverage from sick people.

There’s no long-term solution to rising costs, and the Democrats’ — from the President on down — betrayal of their own party platform, which says “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right,” is craven, disgusting, and disheartening in the extreme.  And this is an absurdly industry-friendly bill, carefully tailored to maintain insurance company profits, and to not introduce any measures, such as genuine competition from a public option, optional earlier Medicare buy-in, removing their anti-trust exemption, or new, robust regulation, that would come close to bringing American per capita health care costs in line with the rest of the developed world, who spend much less for care as good or better than ours because single-payer systems are more efficient.

So in short, the Democrats remain a party largely under the influence of corporate money and the inbuilt misogyny of our social structure, while the Republicans are not only completely and happily under those influences but actively seeking at all times to expand them.  D. Aristophanes’ graph, thus, applies pretty well both to the HCR bill and to the parties themselves.

In other news, as Paul Krugman notes, Newt Gingrich is now attacking the HCR bill by comparing it to LBJ’s civil rights legislation.  Hey Newt, your mask is slipping.


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