Monday, December 07, 2009

Hair Pulling Time Again

I've lost what little patience I had with the politicking over the health care reform and also over the humongous chasms between the parties. Now, the Democrats are nothing to crow about, the weasely lot, mostly. But the Republicans would like to live in some sort of a jungle (except with wingnut churches and wives, to take care of all non-battle stuff). I can't honestly see how this country can ever be run to the satisfaction of most, given the differences in almost all values. Or so it feels today.

Here's what I just read:

President Obama exhorted Senate Democrats on Sunday to put aside their differences and seize their moment in history by passing landmark health legislation. But senators said he did not mention sticky issues like abortion or a new government-run insurance plan.


Thorny unresolved issues include the proposal for a government-run insurance plan; insurance coverage for abortion; cost-control measures, including the powers of an independent commission to rein in Medicare spending; and requirements for employers to provide health benefits to workers or pay a penalty.

That last sentence has so much material in it that it would take ten books to spell it all out, by the way. But nobody tries to spell any of it out. In particular, nobody spells out what happens if those "thorns" are pruned out. To take just one example, look at the very end of the sentence, all about the requirement for employers to provide health benefits or to pay a penalty.

Suppose firms are not required to provide benefits, even though that IS the way Americans are predominantly expected to get their health insurance. Where will the workers go for their coverage, then?

The answer would be that fabled insurance exchange, where abortion might not be covered, even if it's medically necessary and where the policies which are offered might be only individual policies, always more expensive than group policies. All this ties into the question of a government-run option and into cost-control in general and so on.

Despite these grumbles, the proposal would cover many more Americans and that should be a good thing. But this is the Republican response:

The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said Mr. Obama needed support from every Democrat because the bill had "virtually no appeal to any Republican senator."

"Here we are a few weeks before Christmas, with Democrats trying to squeeze every single one of their members to swallow a pretty bitter pill for the American people," Mr. McConnell said.

I'd like an amendment which requires all politicians to use whichever health insurance system works the worst in the country. Now that would be a way to get some improvements.