Get Over It

John Baer, Philadelphia Daily News:

So much for Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown’s election in January ringing a death knell for health care, which suggests that projected Democratic destruction could prove an equally errant guess.

The legislation passed despite Washington’s politically acrid atmosphere and dire predictions that its provisions surely will bring us down.


Because it serves citizens and cuts the deficit? Because it forces insurers to cover sick kids and adults, regardless of pre-existing conditions?

Because it changes rules and allows small business and middle-class families to join larger insurance pools to get better-priced coverage?

Because it allows parents’ policies to cover children up to age 26? Or ends lifetime caps on benefits? Or offers free preventive care?

Or maybe because its $940 billion price over 10 years buys protection for millions without it, and, daggummit, I don’t want my taxes helping them that don’t help themselves!

Again, get a grip.

Who do you think pays for “those people” now? The government, health-care providers and the insured; and since those with no coverage often end up in ERs, their care costs more.

Insurance for those who can’t afford it is good policy, ethically and fiscally.

Oh, no, the bill’s too big, we can’t pay for it!

Yes we can, according to the Congressional Budget Office, Congress’ independent fiscal ref, which says that it cuts the deficit by $13.8 billion a-year.

It’s paid for with taxes on the wealthy – households making $250,000 and up (which is 2.6 percent of us, according to the national Tax Policy Center) – and cost-savings in Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs.

And, yeah, some “Cadillac” benefits get taxed. But if your plan costs less than $27,500 a year (and I’d note U.S. Census data shows Philly’s median income at $37,090) it won’t be. And for those that will, the tax doesn’t kick in until 2018, by which time everything could change.

You don’t buy any of this? You think it’ll sink us? That’s what they thought in ’92 when a Democratic Congress pushed President Clinton’s tax hike/deficit-reduction through. Instead, there was an economic boom.

The bill’s imperfect, has pork and government can screw up anything. But it’s mostly about better access, lower costs and helping fellow-citizens.

Why does it draw such anger?

I don’t recall rage over budgeting $144 billion more last year for two wars halfway around the world. Or over foreign-aid costs, which grew from $17.5 billion in 2000 to nearly $42 billion in 2007, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.

I don’t pick up similar sniping over spending on the misguided, seven-year-old folly in Iraq, the long-term cost of which the Congressional Budget Office puts at $2.4 trillion – enough to twice pay for the health-care bill, with $520 million left over for, say, children’s cancer research.

No, siree, Bob. So focus, people. The only thing to be angry about regarding health-care reform is that it took so long to get it started.

5 thoughts on “Get Over It

  1. Why the rage…mandate and NO ENFORCEMENT! Fuck this bill, dems just lost me for life by selling me like a piece of meat to the Ins co’s.!

  2. Get a grip, madmatt. This is just a start. Selling yo ass to the insurance companies, you say? Hope you never get sick, my friend. BTW, do you have car insurance? You do? Feel “sold out”, do you?

  3. Madmatt illustrates one of two key points of attack the GOP will use and has already used.

    First is the ridiculously undersubsidized individual mandate and second is the set of raids on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid the Demorats have chosen to use to fund an expansion of health care that should have been paid for entirely by taxes on the rich.

    Rollback of GW’s cuts would have done it.

    So would removal of the cap on the tax that pays for Medicare.

    But instead of further enraging their own class, the rich, the Democratic lawmakers chose to infuriate hordes of voters among their natural constituencies, the elderly and the working class by dumping a large part of the costs of this massive expansion of health care availability on them.

    This decision alone may do more than anything else to strengthen the GOP campaign for repeal.

    And to make matters worse, the Republicans will role the dice by appealing to the most conservative federal judiciary in decades.

    Make no mistake, the Supreme Court is packed with judges who view pretty much everything liberals have done with government since FDR if not since TR to have been unconstitutional.

    The court already overturned decades of jurisprudence by freeing up corporate money for political uses and the Democrats had no riposte but to whine.

    If the court strikes down some or all of the provisions of the HCR plan and lays the legal foundation for an attack on Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and much else of America’s sketchy social democracy, what will these Democrats do about it?

    They haven’t got the balls for court packing, and they haven’t got the votes in the senate, anyway.

  4. Rollback of GW’s cuts would have done it.

    So would removal of the cap on the tax that pays for Medicare.

    Or, you know, ending one or both wars.

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