Ben Franklin Blog

The blog of the band Ben Franklin from NY and NJ


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This pretty much sums up what I think about the new Shitty Health Insurance Expansion Act that some are still calling Health Care Reform, over on Billy Moyers Journal:

MATT TAIBBI: Yeah, and this was Howard Dean’s point this week was that this individual mandate that’s going to force people to become customers of private health insurance companies, the Democrats are going to end up owning that policy and it’s going to be extremely unpopular and it’s going to be theirs for a generation. It’s going to be an albatross around the neck of this party.

ROBERT KUTTNER: Think about it, the difference between social insurance and an individual mandate is this. Social insurance everybody pays for it through their taxes, so you don’t think of Social Security as a compulsory individual mandate. You think of it as a benefit, as a protection that your government provides. But an individual mandate is an order to you to go out and buy some product from some private profit-making company, that in the case of a lot of moderate income people, you can’t afford to buy. And the shell game here is that the affordable policies are either very high deductibles and co-pays, so you can afford the monthly premiums but then when you get sick, you have to pay a small fortune out of pocket before the coverage kicks in. Or if the coverage is decent, the premiums are unaffordable. And so here’s the government doing the bidding of the private industry coercing people to buy profit-making products that maybe they can’t afford and they call it health reform.

I realize it’s not popular, and I know there are lots of good things in the coming health care bill. But there’s no way around these facts: it’s not just bad, but incredibly shitty policy, it’s completely unfair to just about everybody except the insurance and drug providers, and we’re going to be stuck with it for most of the rest of our lives.

So, I personally think this is pyrrhic victory. This notion that you can’t go back to the drawing board, that “we’ll never get another chance” is a bunch of bullshit, it’s entirely self-imposed in order to jam this through. And given the intractability of the Senate, the notion that we’ll be able to “fix it later” is absurd on the face of it.

Obviously, I’m speaking for myself, not Eddie and Sarah, I know they have their own thoughts. I don’t see how we could “kill” the bill in conference, but I honestly think this consolidation of political and monetary power that this represents is going to kill us. So I’m not interested in or guilted by arguments that killing, or demanding that Congress fix, the bill under consideration right now is somehow a morally reprehensible act, it seems far kinder to the country than passing it.



Written by Ben Franklin

December 21, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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