How Do Half-Measures Help?

No final bill, yet, I know.  But the more I look at what Congress is doing, the more I fear the net end result is that I’ll be an “outlaw”.  It seems the ONE thing the Congress critters have agree upon is that we need a law that requires people to buy health insurance.

It’s classic wrong-headed thinking.  Our so-called “representatives” seem to believe that people wouldn’t pursue health care unless they’re forced to.  MY problem is that all of my discretionary income is used up on “housing” and “food”…

Think of me as a drowning man, going down for the third time.  I can pay my bills…unless anything goes wrong.  Anything at all.  That includes a shiny new mandate about where I’m legally allowed (or required) to spend my money.  If I pay my PG&E, I can stay warm, forestall pneumonia, and avoid a need for health care.  If I pay my newly minted health care bill, I can’t stay warm.

So, I’ll be warm and take the same chance I’ve been taking for ten years, now.  (Hell, why SHOULDN’T a guy approaching 50 have confidence in continued robust health?  I mean, what could go wrong?)  But here’s where such a law would help: if I DO get sick and go to an emergency room, they’ll have a basis to deny me services: failure to comply with national health care laws…

Apparently, both measures currently include some form of government health insurance.  The Senate lets states “opt out”.  I don’t so much mind the “opt out” bit.  I don’t really think any states will opt out.  Oh, one or two might, just for show, but they’ll “opt right back in” just as soon as their constituents are done with them.  (Remember how all those “red” states who screamed about “stimulus money” nevertheless accepted “stimulus money”?)

It’s looking like the final product will also leave somewhere between 12 and 16 million people without coverage, too.  Oh, and both plans include a “phasing in” process so NONE of this stuff happens now.  Hell, the current House measure won’t be fully implemented until 2019!  Sarah will be nearly finished with her second term by then and righties will have had MORE than enough time to convince Americans “it doesn’t work”.  (And, really, because of these half-measures, it won’t…)

Some people are willing to accept “baby steps” or half-measures.  The concept is the ‘foot-in-the-door’ theory.  “Just get a bill…any bill.  We can tweak it later.”  So the Dems accept nearly any compromise, counting on the “tweak it later” part.  Repugs push for every concession, knowing the weaker the bill is now, the easier it will be to kill later.

Again, I acknowledge there is no final bill yet.  We’ve heard all kinds of scary stories about what it will and won’t do or how such-and-so provision is “dead” only to see it resurrected (or never dead in the first place…)  So it’s best to wait until we see the actual contents of the actual bill Congress sends to Obama’s desk.  But through it all, I can’t help but remember: all they had to do was expand Medicare…

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