Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Views on Healthcare: Anya

Every good point needs a good counterpoint, and, well, I see this as a perfectly acceptable substitute for my AP Government & Politics course homework ;)

The healthcare bill is going to end up being one of, if not the most defining pieces of legislation when people examine Obama's first year in office.  It will also play a large part, I think, in the re-election campaigns that senators will be running next year.  So it only makes sense that everyone is paying very, very close attention to this particular bill.

I've realized a few major things from this healthcare bill.  One, is that I really, really, really want to be Harry Reid.  I want to be the guy (or, in my case, girl) who has to negotiate with all the different factions to bring together a bill into its final form.  I know it would be insanely difficult, but I think it would also be fascinating, rewarding, and fun.  Second, I'm really pleased that I predicted a lot of things in this bill as it stands now.  For example, the trigger option.  As soon as I heard Senator Olympia Snowe say that she supported a trigger option I thought, "the final bill out of the Senate is going to have a trigger option, because Reid is going to do almost anything he can do to get Snowe and Susan Collins to support the healthcare bill."

Way back when in late 2007 and early 2008, during the Democratic primaries, I was a starry-eyed fourteen year old going to Hillary Clinton rallies who heard "universal healthcare" and said "that would be amazing!"  Needless to say, my opinion has changed a bit since then.  Americans are far too individualistic to ever support a universal healthcare plan, or even, as we've seen, a public option run by the government.  Ashley says that's because the government shouldn't act like a business, but really, what if it doesn't have a choice?  And besides, and public option in a Senate bill would have, I assumed, taken the lead from the House bill and required the government to negotiate rates with insurance companies, providing for fair competition and affordable rates.  The government (through the Fed) already buys and sells bonds.  I know that it's a leap between bonds and healthcare, but would it be as big of a leap as people think?  In any case, our current economy, deficit, and the make up of the legislature make universal healthcare impossible.

But what about the public option?  I strongly support that.  In fact, I think it's necessary, because we've seen that private insurers can be . . . well, an epic failure.  And a majority of the population supported it too, in the latest polls I've seen.  Which brings me to another thing I've learned: at some point, it stops being about writing the best legislation you can and becomes all about counting votes.  Which explains the major compromises in this bill.  I can live with most of them, I've decided.  I really can.  I would have liked more government involvement, but at least we are not relying solely on private companies to care for the people.  And, with the trigger option, the government can step in if the need arises.

But what I just completely fail to understand is the Medicare cuts.  I mean, people on Medicare already have a hard enough time finding a doctor willing to treat them, because the doctors get so little money.  So now we're not only cutting billions of dollars out of the Medicare program, but we're also decreasing the minimum age?  Yeah, we're opening Medicare up to those people aged 55-64 who have no insurance.  Counterproductive.

So I want to leave you with one final thought.  The more conservative bill that came out of the House a few months ago cost more than the more liberal option did.  Now . . . what will happen in the Senate?

1 comment:

  1. I don't know that Harry Reid is enjoying himself much these days. Joe Lieberman's only consistent position seems to be "Whatever the Democrats are for, I'm against."

    One last bit of unasked-for advice -- keep your expectations low, and you're less likely to be disappointed.