Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A World Without “Obamacare”

I like this Op/Ed piece by Matt Miller at the WaPo. It was a rather brilliant article , news coverage of the signing of a bill to bring National Health Insurance to America. And I like it because it makes two very valid points: by voting to repeal the Affordable Health Insurance for America Act, the Republicans have not opted to replace it with anything.


Instead, they have opted to return to the same old way. A way, the piece points out, that is surely taking us down the road to medical and economic crisis as quick as you can whistle “I Shot the Sheriff.”
“Meanwhile, as you know, Brian, health costs kept soaring, employers kept dropping coverage they could no longer afford, and by the 2016 campaign, with 70 million Americans uninsured, something had to give. It was Hillary Clinton's moment, Brian.”
The second grand point is that Republicans are using this very serious issue as a political football. They are just playing a game. They had no concern for public welfare or the health of their constituents, not as long as they had their own government-paid health insurance coverage, that is. And in making their petty political points while America crashes and burns, it is quite possible that this will open the way, as Dennis Kucinich claims, to bring about true health insurance reform: Medicare For All.
“That's right, Brian. Obama modeled his reform on Mitt Romney's in Massachusetts. It had an individual mandate because of something Republicans privately understood: The only way to reach universal coverage through private health plans that cover folks regardless of health status is to require everyone to be in the insurance pool. If people are free to wait until they're sick to buy in, premiums soar and coverage erodes. Republicans who knew better assailed the mandate not because they really cared about some constitutional defect - after all, that could have been fixed easily by structuring incentives to buy coverage as opposed to a mandate. They did it because it was a way to take a bite out of Obama. In the near term, it worked. In the long term, they lost the chance to preserve the private-sector role they claimed to cherish in health care.”
It’s obvious to me or to anyone who has thought about this at any great length that our health insurance system is absolutely broken and the Affordable Health Care Act was only a start. This piece makes it crystal clear that if we cannot get health insurance reform now, ahead of the curve, the curve will surely catch up with us.

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