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'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, (original, huh?) airs on Tuesdays at 10:PM and Saturdays at 8:PM, Eastern time on RainbowRadio.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Health Care Bill

Things have been busy at work the past couple weeks (the car makers must be making up for last year!) and I've hardly had any time to put my two-cents in over of MMFA lately. (Which is a good thing: in this economy, and in Michigan of all places, I'd rather have too little time on my hands than too much! LOL) So I was really rushed in this thread, so I wanted to come back and put my piece on the table regarding the pending health care legislation...

...and I don't suppose too many people, on either side of the issue, will like what I have to say about it. So let put a few "givens" out there, right up front.

1) I HATE insurance companies.  We all know the multitude of ways that they screw people over, and I'm no different. My story?  My two sons have autism.  The insurance company paid for the diagnosis, but the minute they "autism" label was stuck on them, they wouldn't pay for shit in terms of therapy. (I came across THIS once, and it really hit home.) You know... Cause they don't get any better.  (1) First of all: tell that to Temple Grandin.  (2) Second of all, neither do AIDS patients or Diabetics or Schizophrenics or Transplant Patients or a million other patients who are on medication or medical therapy for life.  But we all know that they'll throw any bullshit they can at you just to get out of paying.  It doesn't have to be logical, scientifically correct or even make sense.  They hold all the cards, so you're at their mercy.

So if anyone things I'm in the pocket of the insurance industry, I dare you to say it my face.  (And I'd then advise you to them DUCK.) I HATE. HATE. HATE. those scum-sucking bastards.  They turned their backs on my kids.  So fuck 'em.

2) The Right, the Conservatives, The Republicans, the Insurance Lobby and Fox have all told so many lies about this whole issue, that I really don't even care what they have to say anymore. (I never really did, but it's less than background noise now.)  They're so far out in Right Field it's not even funny anymore. It's pathetic and sad.  Death Panels? Lie of the year.  Deficits? Lie of the day, just depends on the issue you're discussing.  Government Takeover? I only WISH.  And I swear I'm going to punch the next person I hear crying about "socialism."  So this in not, in any way, intended to argue with the idiots on the Right.  90% of them have no fucking idea what they're talking about, and the other 10% are lying for their paychecks.  And even if every concession was given to them (and it basically has) they'd oppose it even if their own mother's life depended on it, just to see Obama and the Democrats "lose."  They're despicable bastards without heart, soul or brains.  So I'm done with them.

I want to take issue with the LIBERALS, who at this point are ready to jump ship on it.


Now... don't get me wrong.  IMHO, the only PRINCIPLED, EDUCATED opposition to this bill, and anything in it has come from the Left.  And I've laid out my own plan, which is about as close as you can get to single-payer, and yet not have the gov't run it, and still use market forces to keep costs DOWN, rather than UP as they do now.  So you know I'm no libertarian when it comes to this issue.  All that being said, in my humble opinion...

THIS IS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION.  THIS IS GOOD LEGISLATION. AND THIS COUNTRY NEEDS IT TO PASS. NOW.

I can't remember where I read it (and it may have been in this blog, so please forgive me if it was you and I forgot) but I recently read where someone call Health Care Reform the "New Deal" of our generation, and went on to call Gay Rights the "Civil Rights Movement" of our generation.  I absolutely agree, 100% with that analogy, and that is exactly what drives my thinking here:  The New Deal was not a single piece of legislation.  Neither was 'Civil Rights.'  Both represented sweeping changes in HOW WE THINK.  They represented paradigm shifts in out whole legal, economic, political and social philosophy.  They both occurred over MANY bills, MANY laws, and even MANY court cases, both in support of and in opposition to. And there was no point at which ANY single piece of legislation SOLVED THE PROBLEM. (We still have both economic instability and racial issues today, after all, and we probably will 100 years from now.)  So you could take ANY piece of legislation, in either of those two cases - the first, the last or any in between - and find some fault with it.  It doesn't go far enough.  It makes too many concessions.  It makes things worse.  But just as well, in each case, each step had to be taken, as it was, because at each stage they had to take what they could get and keep moving forward.

And that's where I part with the idealists on the Left: I'm a pragmatist.  Do I agree with Michael Moore, and Keith Olbermann and Dennis Kuccinich?  In principal? Yes.  But in practice, I do not accept the conclusion that this bill makes things worse.

Will the insurance companies profit from this? Yes, I'm sure they'll find a way to. They always do.
(I don't mind that they make a profit. What bothers me is that the currently profit more by denying care. That's the dysfunctional incentive.)

Will some people remain uncovered? Yep.  A good 20 Million as I understand it.
(That's still half what it is now, however.)

Do I like the individual mandate? Not without a public option I don't.
(But whether or not it's constitutional, is a matter for the courts to decide, not a reason to oppose it.)

BUT...  I also see this bill as a NECESSARY first step.  We'd all like single-payer.  Wasn't going to happen. Personally, I prefer MY PLAN.  Not going to happen. (Wasn't even on the table. LOL)  Public Option? Might have happened, if Harry Reid had any balls, Nancy Pelosi was worth a damn and President Obama wasn't the pragmatist that I figured him for when I voted for him, despite the Right's attempts to brand his as the most moon-bat liberal homo-sapient of all time.  And while I'd certainly have have liked it, maybe even participated in it, I can live without it, even with the individual mandate.

Why?

Pre-existing conditions.  If you want to force them to cover pre-exsisting conditions, (and we need to, with everyone switching jobs, getting laid off, etc...) and not let them totally jack up the premiums to cover them, and you DON'T want your costs to skyrocket, the only way to achieve that is to have EVERYONE pay-in.  You need healthy people who right now, whether by choice or by circumstance, aren't putting in to ante up and get covered.  And to all you wanna-be micro-economics majors out there, this is yet another instance where market forces work in strange ways.  You see... It doesn't cost more to COVER more people.  COVERING PEOPLE is a source of REVENUE.  The increased demand for coverage does not necessarily lead to higher costs.  What increases costs is more (and more expensive) CLAIMS being filed.  Does universal coverage lead to more, and more expensive, claims?  On average, per person, not really.

Remember - this gets a lot of currently HEALTHY people on board.  That will only LOWER the [insurance company's] cost, on a per person basis.  And all those uninsured SICK people?  As I laid out in my earlier health care posts, right now they wait until their on death's door and then show up in the ER.  And they then run up HUGE bills, that then don't get paid.  Well, first of all: Guess who pays them? WE DO, though higher premiums, as hospitals try to recoup unpaid bills by soaking insurance companies!  They don't just write it off, and even if they do officially, they still try to recoup it from US - the insured.  Second of all, if these same people were covered, they'd go to the doctor EARLY ON, when [whatever it is that they have] can be fixed CHEAPLY and EASILY, with FEWER COMPLICATIONS and better PATIENT OUTCOMES.  Which is exactly what we WANT THEM TO DO because it COST LESS THAT WAY!  It's ALWAYS costs more, not to mention has more negative outcomes, to treat a disease in the later stages.  It's ALWAYS better, and cheaper, to catch it and treat it EARLY. So the idea that we'll be paying for something that we're not already is misguided, no matter what model you're looking at.

Is this bill perfect? No.  No way.  Is it even good? Debatable, certainly.  But is it NECESSARY?

Yes.  I firmly believe it is.

And to some extent the details don't matter. (And I realize there are some doozies.)  This will not solve all of our problems, but neither would a public option and neither would even single payer.  But about the only idea I've heard that would make it WORSE was John McCain's '08 campaign idea to let people buy across state lines.  THAT, and some of the more "free market" solutions I've heard, would make it WORSE. Much worse. And I just don't believe this bill does.  Not in  any BIG PICTURE kind of way.  It has it's warts, but at this point, and really at any point, we need to take what we can get, celebrate the victory, and move on to the NEXT STEP.  Because whoever succeeds Obama, and whenever that happens, will STILL be dealing with health care.  No matter WHAT happens, or even might have happened with this bill.

I actually, honestly believe that we'll get to single payer eventually (though still I prefer my own model.)  But we're not going to get there in one bill. (Shit, we might not get there in my lifetime!) This will be, and has to be a gradual process.  And the necessary FIRST STEP, really the first two steps, has/have to be:

1) Everyone needs to put it / Nobody is allowed to opt out.  (And help the ones who truly can't afford it.)


2) The insurance companies can't be allowed to refuse anyone, and can't be allowed to gouge anyone.

Now... we're not there yet. But this bill brings us closer.  And we can't get on with the REAL reforms until we've achieved those first two steps.  And come November?  It's likely the Republicans will make some gains, and the already uphill climb will only get steeper.  We need to take what we can.  We need to start moving in the right direction.  We need to get the ball rolling.  And we need to do this as soon as we can.

We NEED this legislation, warts and all.  I don't LIKE it... but I do believe it's necessary.

14 comments:

  1. I admit to being a liberal that was really worked up when we lost the public option and the medicare buy in. I was frustrated that Dems seem like such a bunch of spineless weenies. But I think you are right. We need to pass this. Just pass it already. The less mature side of me says eff the Republicans. Sorry.

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  2. I think I know exactly how you feel. Because I don't really LIKE this either. And I was pissed not only at losing the Public Option, but also at how quickly they took it off the table!

    But if this bill was really much of a boon for the insurance companies as we fear it is, they'd have ordered their whores in congress to stop opposing it by now. The fact the the Republicans still aren't happy, gives me some hope that it will still do some good. LOL

    (And I say "eff the Republicans" every chance I get. Never anything wrong with that! LOL)

    Thanks for your comment.

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  3. Two things bug me to no end about all this.

    The first is that the United States is struggling tooth and nail to do 5% of what [insert random country here] did ages ago. It's so embarrassing I can't stand up.

    The second is that every square inch of the evil of the republican party was exposed in 1998. It was ludicrously obvious to anyone glancing sideways at it. Then over the next ten years it became superabundantly superludicrously superobvious. So what do we do? We elect a guy who spent the whole campaign talking openly about how much he was going to play nice with them. I still can't believe that such a person can even exist. Obama is like a physicist unaware of the existence of gravity.

    Pass the bill because it'll be easy to change later and it'll help a few people along the way. But it's almost moot now that politics consists of wondering if anyone is able to learn anything about anything.

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  4. You rock, once again. Thanks.

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  5. Steeve,

    I'm sorry... WHAT happened in 1998?! I agree with you 100%, that the Pub's are evil, etc... but why 1998? All I remember from 1998 was Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, and as amazing as the home run race was, I don't think it "[exposed] every square inch of the evil of the republican party." LOL. So what am I forgetting?

    I agree with you, BTW, on the frustration / embarrassment with our failure to do what everyone else has already done. It IS completely absurd. And it's certainly frustrating the extent to which Obama (as he said all along) has reached across the isle. (Although not nearly as frustrating as the Right's incessant whining about being SHUT OUT of the debate! I mean, give me a break, right?!) Be that as it may, however, "we" didn't elect him. It took all of "us" and some of "them." And for all the things that we all know about the Left and the Right, and as much as all that sucks, a certain amount of that pandering to the opposition is still needed to win, and to get things done. At this point, I just want to see some RETURN on all that ass-kissing.

    You last two statements pretty much sum up how I feel about it at this point, and to answer your last: Don't worry: they won't. And neither will the American Electorate. (I'm almost as optimistic as ClassicLiberal in that dept.)

    Thanks for your comment.

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  6. DellDolly,

    Thank YOU! Good to hear form you again.

    Thanks for your comment.

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  7. Steeve can, of course, speak for himself, but I think he may have meant 1988, instead of '98--the Bush/Dukakis campaign. Everyone thought the Bush campaign's behavior was a new low at the time. Now, it's gotten so bad every day, I'm almost nostalgic for it.

    Eddie, the insurance industry wrote the bill currently under consideration. Specifically, the vice-president of Wellpoint. It was a clone of a Republican proposal also authored by industry lobbyists. The industries' #1 whore in congress (the biggest recipient of industry largess) is Sen. Max Baucus, who is supporting the legislation and allowed the aforementioned Wellpoint VP to write it. Joe Lieberman is the Senator From AETNA, and helped insure there would be no public option. The Obama himself was purchased with $20 million in campaign contributions from the health-care industry. It's why he, among other things, flip-flopped on the question of the Slavery Provision. Health care industry contributions shifted to the Democrats in the last election cycle.

    The spotty industry opposition we've seen isn't to the entire bill, which is, in fact, corporate welfare. It's directed at certain provisions. For example, the industry wanted jail-time as a penalty for those who didn't buy insurance; the bill itself only provides for a tax penalty (this was why the industry crafted that phony "study" toward the end of last year). As another example, the industry spent a bloody fortune getting the public option stripped out of the bill.

    I was writing a reply to your original post, there, and it started running so long, I decided to convert it into a post on my own blog:
    http://lefthooktheblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/yes-health-care-bill.html

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  8. Thanks for your comment. I checked out your post, and I think EVERYONE should. You raise good points. Believe me when I say that I share your frustration, if not your final judgement. You make good points, and I don't really disagree with them, individually.

    Perhaps instead of "necessary first step" a better way for me to have put it would have been "necessary evil." And in that case, by "necessary," I mean "given the sad state of affairs that we have." Obama was not going to single handedly turn the system upside-down over night. For better or worse (and worse, and worse, and worse) the insurance companies have their toadies, bought and paid for. That's a reality and chinging it is in the HANDS OF THF TOADIES. That's always going to be the case. And you're right: they're are plenty of Dem's in there as well. But given where thigns are, and the LIKELY scenario's that were available, I'll stand by my (grudging) acceptance of this. It's NOT over, however. Not by a damned sight. Especially if you're right.

    But as you well know, the Dem's never had their 60 votes, and I doubt they'd have had 51, if anything resembling single payer was on the table, lobbyists or not. Irrational? Absolutely. And the Public Option should not have been taklen out. But who knows... a few years from now? Maybe the public will be DEMANDING it. LOUDLY and OVERWHELMINGLY. Costs MAY have to go up before there's enough public pressure (however much that is) to get REAL reform, as you (and I) would define it.

    But I don't have a problem with the increased profits if it means increased coverage. Taking the long view, I still want to see this pass... as a FIRST STEP.

    Thanks again for your comments, and posts. It's always refreshing to disagree with someone whohas SOME fucking idea what they're talking about!

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  9. "WHAT happened in 1998?!"

    Um, impeachment of a president over nothing? I seriously have to say that?

    Did you happen to watch the news for any five-second period during the entire year? You would have seen the evil.

    (If you say he wasn't impeached over nothing, I'll bitch-slap you hard.)

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  10. Oh yeah... I do kind of remember something about that. LOL.

    Actually, I was having a hard time because at first I could have sworn it was earlier than that. For some reason I really thought that I was still living in Virginia at the time, and that would have put it around 1996... But then I was like, 'no, that was the election year, and he was impeached LATER.' DUH!

    It must have been that brain tumor I ate for breakfast. (ClassicLib can attribute my health care bill position to that as well, if he wishes to. LOL)

    Thanks for setting me strait.

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  11. I'd have responded more quietly if classicliberal hadn't forgotten at the same time. I was afraid I was in a room full of Clinton haters. Sorry for snapping.

    There's no way this bill is not a step forward. I can't process the image of republicans campaigning against big business reaping huge windfalls.

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  12. I was no Clinton fan, but I'm probably even more stern on the question of the impeachment fiasco than steeve. For all the time I spent, back then, ranting against what was essentially a coup attempt against the elected government, I totally blanked on it (though I understand it did get a little press coverage).

    Health care reform didn't become the present monstrosity because of the lack of votes--it became what it is because of the lack of will. If the Democrats had started with something like single player, or just a real reform bill with a strong public option--perhaps one that transitioned, over time, to single payer--it could have been whittled down into something still acceptable. Obama and the Democrats chose, instead, to give away the store to the conservatives right up front, as they always have, and instead of fighting hardball-style for a solid policy from a position of strength, began from a prone position of utter weakness and allowed any real reform to be quickly removed. Instead of putting on some ass-kicking boots, strapping on a mean-ass knife, and taking to the trenches to collect some scalps, Obama sat on his ass through nearly the entire process. That's what all that industry money bought from him.

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  13. Steeve,

    Go ahead and "snap" all you want. :) I can take it. (Shoot, sometimes, like this time, I NEED it! LOL) I think the other reason I had McGwire and Sosa on the brain is that we've been doing our fantasy baseball draft these past couple days. (After 6 rounds so far, I've got: R.Howard, D.Jeter, V.Martinez, A.Dunn, J.Vasquez and J.Lackey).

    I MUST have been VISITING my parent's house during the impeachment vote, because I remember distinctly watching it on my parent's TV, with my (staunchly Republican) father commenting in the background. But that's why I couldn't think of the year. (Because I lived in Michigan from '97 onward.)

    Classy,

    Despite our different conlusions RE the judgement of this bill, I still dispute NONE of the facts that you state. (That's in contrast to when I disagree with conservtaives, and can dispute every blind word they say!) I was thinking earlier today that this country would be in better shaope if you were more represetnative of the Democrats and I the Republicans. I'd love the see the day in this country when [someone like me] is the Right to [someone like you]'s left. Alas, as things are, I'm to the left of the Democrats, and Reality and Common Sense are to the left of Republicans.

    And I'm no fan of Clinton either, but it amazes me that people by and large don't view his impeachment as you do. I mean, that was a SERIOUS over-reach on the part of the Republicans. It was utterly shameless and yet completely without comsequence. Behold that LIBERAL MEDIA, huh?

    BTW... "putting on some ass-kicking boots, strapping on a mean-ass knife, and taking to the trenches to collect some scalps"?! You are suggesting that Obama should have acted like a Republican?! Sorry - LOL - I'll assume that meant to be interpreted as the bible was: METAPHORICALLY, rather than literally. XD LOL

    Thanks again for both of y'alls comments.

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  14. Whoops... That's awkward... I just put "reality and common sense" to the RIGHT of both of us. That... didn't end up sounding quite like I thought it would. LOL

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