Wednesday, December 16, 2009

When Reform Isn't Reform

[Comment posted to the Washington Monthly...]

The message lately has been, "Let's pass this bill, and improve on it." Reference is made to previous landmark legislation that was imperfect when it initially passed, such as Medicare and Social Security. Call this the "Foundation Argument" or something.

There needs to be a threshold, surely, for the "Foundation Argument" to be well-founded. Not just any bill will do. There must be a decent, well, foundation. Does the Senate bill provide that?

I no longer believe, at this point, that it will. There are good and helpful things in it but their merit is outweighed by the expansion, not contraction, of inequality. The main outrage, one of many, is that existence of the personal mandate without price controls, sufficient consumer protection, or accountability. If I am going to be legally forced to conduct business with private insurance companies, I demand regulations. I'm not getting that. I'm not getting a Medicare buy-in option, either. I'm not getting a non-profit alternative. And I will not even have the option of taking the money I spend on premiums, putting it into an interest bearing account every week, and using that as a health reserve.

In other words, I come out more deeply subjugated to the insurance industry, instead of less.

For this and other reasons, I reject the foundation argument. I agree with Howard Dean: stick a fork in this. It isn't reform.

1 comment:

quid said...

I definitely agree. I think they should go to reconciliation.