Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

With thanks to sethrates...

2010: The Big Fucking DealWhen's the last time a piece of legislation passed through the Senate and the House of Representatives that was perfect? I'd say it's been a while. This one has holes, but in my opinion does some very important things to help fill the holes in our health-care system, to hold insurance companies to the commitments their customers have every reason to believe they've paid for, and to make it possible for more people to afford health insurance for their families.

I think there's more to be done. I think our health care system has been fundamentally broken for a long time, and what should have been a continually evolving free-market system had devolved into clusters of monopolies raking in massive profits on the backs of patients getting less and less care for their money. That's not business. Letting it happen unchecked isn't conservatism. "None but the very rich can afford to get seriously ill in America and hope to pay for it themselves," says Roger Ebert in a piece for the Guardian, and that's been a big part of the problem. If selfish rich people want to make sure that only they can afford the best of care in this country, they'd been doing a pretty good job of it.

One irony that has me scratching my head this month is that the core of the bill signed into law today bears a striking resemblance to the basics of a health-care reform plan that President Nixon pushed for in the early 1970s. Obviously he was no model Republican, but it makes it seem even more likely to me that most of the Republican politicians objecting to HCR right now are just making noise, opposing not the legislation but the Democrats. What a waste of time and energy.

One thing I hope for the future is that some of the red tape that hobbles medical practitioners can be snipped away as health care reform continues to develop. Doctors and other medical professionals spend less and less time talking to and caring for patients, and more and more time filling out paperwork that could and should be better automated, jumping through insurance company hoops, and cramming in more patients for shorter visits to pay for the extra overhead.

Did Congress fix all that today? Not by a long shot. Did they get off to a promising start? I believe they did.

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