Nothing for Anyone

Nothing for Anyone:

So, why are we considering passing this health care bill? It's vastly unpopular, yes; and not for no reason! It's got taxes on 'Cadillac' health plans, which the unions hate, as do the gainfully employed in general. It's got no public option, no Medicare buy-in, yet mandatory insurance requirements, which the Left hates. It's got government forcing you to buy something you may not need or want, which the economic conservatives hate. It's got a mandatory montly fee for abortion, which social conservatives hate. Libertarians hate everything about the plan. Doctors apparently don't like it. The elderly are justly concerned about the death panel cost-controlling aspet; the young are justly concerned about being forced to buy very costly insurance they don't really need, given the minimal salaries that accompany inexperience and youth.

Who is the constituency for this bill? Insurance companies? Congress? Is there any demographic of Americans who really wants this thing?

UPDATE: I may have expressed myself badly before, so let me clarify. I understand that legislation is the art of compromise, so that even with a good bill, there will be parts of it that everyone doesn't like. In that regard, this might be read as a 'good' bill, because every faction has 'given' something.

The problem is, I don't see the other side: what's anyone getting? The papers all say that we'll be getting 'coverage for thirty million uninsured,' but I can't see that we are: the penalty for not buying insurance is much less than the cost of maintaining the insurance. So, we'll continue to have millions of uninsured -- it's just that they'll have the right to buy insurance when they want it. We could easily have tens of millions more uninsured, as people realize there's no reason to pay the freight to obtain the health care they want.

The House bill's rather heavy-handed response to this is to criminalize 'willful failure' to maintain insurance. That's no solution, though: it'll cost much more to keep tens of millions of people in prison than it would to pay for their health care. (After all, in prison you have to pay for their health care, and also feed and house them, and monitor them 24/7). They may be hoping to imprison a few 'examples' to terrorize the rest of us into compliance, but that won't work on the target population any more than the anti-drug laws have worked. Instead, you'll end up with another unevenly or rarely-enforced statute, openly mocked by the class of people it's meant to control.

We're getting all these sacrifices. We'll be paying much higher taxes in a variety of ways. Those of you with employer-sponsored health care will probably lose it, as the employers find it cheaper to pay the penalty versus keeping the coverage. If you don't, it'll be taxed as a 'Cadillac' plan. (You have too much insurance for our own good!) If you have no insurance, you'll be free to buy it; and if you don't, you'll be taxed for that (or possibly thrown in jail, but again, I can't imagine the government has the stones to pull the trigger on that option to the degree necessary to make it effective; and even if they did, that only increases the cost to the government).

The American Spectator article mocks:

I will be able to drop my coverage completely and save myself almost $4,000 a year, knowing that if I ever get sick and need services, I can sign-up and get coverage immediately. Not only that, but I will be able to sign-up, get the service I need, and drop the coverage the next month.
Yet even that isn't true, since 'the service I need' may not be covered by the government mandated plan -- especially for a costly 'older' American. And other plans will be either less affordable (Cadillac!), or unavailable.

Meanwhile, the laws mandating emergency rooms to treat anyone who shows up will remain in place. So, really, for those at the very bottom -- the ones who have the most trouble organizing their lives -- nothing will change at all. They won't buy the 'we can't turn you away' insurance until/unless they need it, and only for as long as they need it; and they don't need it at all, because they can continue to do what they do now, demand free care and then walk away from the bill.

I'm honestly not seeing the upside. What is anyone getting out of this? We aren't getting a nation of happily-insured people. We aren't getting happier doctors. We're not even getting abortion-on-demand-for-free, for those who wanted that. Neither are we getting a conscience-clause or a refusal to mandate that we all pay for abortions for those who wanted that. It appears that everything anyone thought was good has been negotiated away.

Who is the constituency who wants this?

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