21 November 2009

And Healthcare for All ....

We're on the first step towards turning healthcare into a right rather than something one needs to earn. I should feel wildly enthused about this, but instead I feel a little queasy.

In the last decade, we've committed trillions to foreign occupation, stabilizing our banks, and now, healthcare. We fund doctors, bankers, and soldiers. The lesson is clear: go to college or join the army.

Legislation to provide universal healthcare is both wonderful and awful. Wonderful because we finally say that everyone deserves it. Awful because the bribes needed in order to pass this legislation are going to cost untold billions. As expensive and as uncertain as war is, at least everyone gets excited about it. Congress votes for war to prove their courage and because they are scared to death that they might lose their seat if they don't. By contrast, supporting healthcare has little going for it so the legislators hold out for a series of bribes, the most obvious being the fact that this bill does little to curtail healthcare costs (at the same time that it guarantees that the government will cover the cost) and the fact that even families making 400% of poverty level ($88,200 per family) are eligible for tax credits. (If you have to subsidize nearly everyone in order to afford the legislation, doesn't everyone have to pay for the subsidies?)

Coverage has been expanded but taxpayers aren't paying more and the the healthcare industry is not accepting less revenue. That only means one thing: we're subsidizing the medical market AND the bond market.

Universal healthcare is a wonderful thing - or would be, if only our democratic process weren't so sick. This is the same country that during our invasion of Iraq, for the first time in our history gave a tax cut while going to war. Now, the quiet and seemingly thoughtful Obama may prove himself as reckless as Bush by passing legislation for a tax cut and universal health care in the same year. This kind of fiscal recklessness just seems unhealthy.

1 comment:

Lifehiker said...

The former U.S. Comptroller of the Currency has been warning of our country's unsupportable accumulation of debt from under-funded government programs. His take is that the current health care bill fails three of four critical tests, and he is therefore opposed to it.

My first term democrat congressman, Eric Massa, is a smart and honorable guy. He's opposed to the bill because it caters to special interests, does not bring down the cost of health care, and adds to the deficit.

I agree that health care should be a right, but we can't kill the country to get it. Our elected representatives may be our worst enemies in the long run.