Obamacare? Not Exactly. But It’s Better Than Nothing, I Guess

We finally have a healthcare reform bill. It's passed the House, and now there needs to be reconciliation with the Senate. No, I'm not thrilled about it. And no, it's not really “Obamacare”. I actually liked liked Obamacare. Real Obamacare included more affordable healthcare options for Americans by including a public option. But, as we've been seeing since Obama took office, the “left” hasn't really been getting a whole lot of what it wants. Instead, Obama has been paring back his expectations and desires and doing this thing called compromise, which is how a representative government system based on a plurality of population is supposed to work. It's kind of a rough go, since every time Obama instructs Dems to throw the GOP a bone (from reducing the spending in the economic stimulus bill by reducing job creation measures to getting rid of a rather helpful public option after the outcry against providing more affordable options for healthcare), the GOP refuses to compromise on its end.

In the end, though, there's not a lot a president can do when everyone is clambering for more of the healthcare they claim they don't want. And, really, that's what we're getting with this bill. It's what we demanded: A continuation of the same healthcare system that rewards insurance companies for their socialized capitalism model. Yes, you're already paying for someone else's back problem and the habits that lead to obesity. Why do you think your “group” premium goes up every year? Because someone in the group, or at your work, has poor health. Plus, this bill keeps us in the same system of the insurance company telling you where you can get treatment, and who can treat you. See, with a public option, you would have been able to go anywhere you wanted. With the current system, you have less freedom because you have to go where the insurance company tells you to. But I guess as long as it's a corporation telling you what to do, and making a profit, that's true freedom. We the people ranted and raved demanded that we keep the same old insurance system in which we pay double what every other developed country does per-person, for healthcare that is 37th in the world.

The main difference is that now the health insurance companies can't dump you if you get sick, and eventually won't be able to deny you coverage for a pre-existing condition. Of course, now that there are these tenuous consumer protections, Obama is a “dictator” and “tyrant.” Yeah. He's a real jerk. He tried to get us more options and more coverage. But then we screamed and yelled about how we wanted to keep the same system. So we have it. But with a little more protection. He listened to us and gave us what we asked for. The insurance companies will have to honor the agreement they make, namely paying for our care when we get sick if we've been paying the premiums. And, on top of that, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says that this current plan will actually reduce the deficit over time.

No, I'm not thrilled about this bill. It has almost nothing that a progressive like me wants to see. It keeps health insurance tied to jobs (but with a tax break for small businesses), it keeps insurance companies in the same position of power they've been in for decades, and it will raise the Medicare tax for couples making more than $250,000 a year. Plus, Medicare spending will be cut.

This is a liberal healthcare reform bill? Sure, there is a higher Medicare tax on what many consider “the wealthy,” and the requirement that insurance companies honor their agreements to pay for your care if you get sick. Oh, and funding for community clinics. (For 10 immediate benefits of the healthcare reform bill, check out Crooks and Liars.) Plenty of things in this bill — such keeping big business largely in charge, offering a tax cut to small business, and cutting a bloated government program while lowering the deficit over time — sound conservative.

But then, what do I know? I'm what's wrong with this country: A bat-sh@#$ crazy socialist who really would have liked a public option, since there's no chance this country will see a single-payer system.

(Thanks to Oliver Willis for his post bringing this video to my attention. Awesome.)

3 thoughts on “Obamacare? Not Exactly. But It’s Better Than Nothing, I Guess”

  1. Yes, it’s still better than not getting any of the changes at all. But again, like you, I was hoping for the public option. Maybe I’m being naive, but I’m still hoping sometime in the future (nearer future, I hope), people will understand better and REALLY want it as well, instead of being so scared of becoming ‘socialists’ (without really understanding the term either) *deep sigh*

  2. Amen to your post and I feel the same as “oreo”, you never know if you will get slapped in the face when agreeing with the Democrats/President now days – whether it be from family, friends or strangers. Though everyone feels that way about their own opinions but really I don’t feel like I am stupid, naive, uneducated or gullible and yet I am upset that the health care reform wasn’t more “liberal” or to me needed.
    In my home state of Arizona the state government just did entirely away with a program that paid for health care to children of the poor. This will leave 42,000 children with no health insurance.
    It is just sad. Add on all the propaganda and crazy talk from some in the GOP and Republican Party about this issue and I feel think I might be heading to depression!

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