Monday, March 22, 2010

Funny, I don't feel healthier?

So last night saw the passage of either the greatest, or worst, legislation in US history and reaction among the peanut gallery is......meh.

Not out there on the fringes mind you, the socialist progressive Left and the theocratic conservative Right are deep into the process of shoulder dislocation due to self-congratulatory back-patting or angry-at-something-but-we're-not-quite-sure-what fist shaking. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"* without, unfortunately, much meaningful change being contained in the actual bill.

Oh sure, there are some insurance mandates and medicare payment reductions, not too many people are going to be happy with those. Beyond that, however, the biggest immediate change that Americans are going to feel is a 10% tax for (get this) indoor tanning. That's right, the Democrats fired their shot and their shot is aimed....directly at tanning beds. Oh sure there's something in that bill hidden somewhere after John Conyers stopped reading it, which would be page 2, that might mention health-care co-ops and exchanges and all of that, most of which is scheduled to take place in 2014. For those keeping score there very well could be a different party in both Congress AND the White House by then. You don't think Republicans are going to sit back and let this public relations bonanza go by do you? Of course not.

What we're left with then is the promise of increased health-insurance regulation without actually enacting any reform. That's right, health-insurance regulation, which is what this entire mess was about from the git-go. The only people who believe this is about "reforming healthCARE don't understand the bigger picture....

The only way to reform healthCARE is to take a deep look out how our healthcare system operates. Changing from playing catch-up to getting ahead of the game with preventative medicine is unaddressed in this bill. Requiring medical doctors to have a working knowledge (although not a mastery) of nutrition would help, as would uncoupling the USDA from the big food. Little things like tax credits for gym memberships and ending farm subsidies which promote the growth of ethanol for fuel, returning our agricultural community's focus to foodstuffs, are beginnings. Demanding healthcare companies cover children on their parents insurance policy until the age of 26 is not. Neither are reducing Medicare payments by 10%, or setting up co-op exchanges etc. etc.**

For all of the promise and high-minded rhetoric dish out by Democrats and the gloom and doom, end of freedom rallies held by Republicans the final regulation bill feels a little bit like.....meh.

The good thing is this mess is easily fixable, as pointed out by the Brother's Judd:
While a reform requiring private health insurance -- and treating abortion as anathema -- would be a Pyrrhic victory for Democrats anyway, the best part of the proposed bill is how easy it is for a Republican majority to fix. All you need to do is add an HSA/catastrophic option and expand coverage to 100% of Americans.
We have until November to find out if Americans are going to be willing to give them that chance.

Until then we anxiously await the day that America decides to take a long, hard look at reforming HealthCARE. We're not holding our breath here at HCA.

*Why Charles Dickens of course
**All of these would be examples of increased regulation of the insurance industry, but NOT healthcare reform.

1 comment:

  1. Oh and don't forget the increases in capital gains taxes and a bunch of other taxes which start immediately.

    Oh and the provision about no pre-existing conditions for kids that they have been talking up ad nauseum that was supposed to start immediately? They forgot to actually put it in the bill..... I guess that is what happens when you pass something you can't be bothered to actually READ.


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