Saturday, 6 March 2010

Yes. We (still) can.

Hello sports fans! So maybe you’ve been hearing that health care reform has gone the way of the dodo. That it’s pushing up daisies. It’s deceased, snuffed it. Has shuffled off this mortal coil. That THIS is an EX-bill!


Folks like to get overexcited. Folks are excitable. But, a month on from the Dems unfortunate loss in Massachusetts, the President is uncreasingly ungently urging Congress to go just what I told you they should do.

(Yeah, Rahm’s on the phone to me all the time. “What do you think, Karin? What’s your legislative strategy, Karin? Oh help me, great guru.” It’s so annoying.)

The House is preparing to pass the Senate bill, unamended. After its passage, the Senate will pass a package of amendments to the bill that will reconcile it with the House legislation on key points.

After which, the President signs both bills into law, making for the most comprehensive reform of our health care system since, well... ever. Actually.

Every single health care bill that has ever been passed in the USA until now has failed to address the whole of the population or the whole of the industry. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been some good work done – from the creation of Medicare aimed at Seniors, to Medicaid for the poor, and SCHIP for children.

But frankly, as a childless working age adult I don’t see why I should be excluded from any improvement in the problems that affect me. (Awake, silent majority!)

Right now, if I lived in the USA I would currently be without health insurance. OR, I would be paying over $1,000 per month for basic cover as a self employed person. My mom, who is currently uninsured, was quoted $1,000 per person per month for catastrophic care only. Yeesh. Frankly, considering that I would like to keep some of my income and maybe even, heavens, buy myself frivolous luxuries – a washer dryer! A car! Imagine the luxury! – I’d rather not do this.

But fortunately, I don’t have this problem. For instead, I pay £38 per quarter as my self employed contribution towards the National Health Service, for which I get – well, whatever I need. I don’t get what I WANT, friendly and attractive staff, music pumped through the waiting rooms, unlimited on demand tests and optional services. But I guess if the NHS were willing to run up costs more than twice what they currently spend (i.e., something approximating what the US pays) they might be able to provide some of that stuff too. Meh.

I digress. Obama’s plan is utterly unlike the NHS. It’s a moderate, minimalist BEGINNING that probably won’t be enough to solve the whole problem.

What it WILL do is:

• Insure 30 million more Americans than are currently insured.

• Ban the insurance companies from denying care to the sick or at risk.

• Provide a choice of insurance plans to every American who needs it

• End“job lock” allowing people to make career decisions based on their ambitions rather than their fears.

Just, yah know. Pass. The. Damn. Bill.

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