Monday, December 21, 2009

Another Petition

Over at FireDogLake, Jane Hamsher and the other principal writers who cover health care have come up with a top ten list of reasons to kill the Senate health care reform bill that's now being considered:

  1. Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to private insurance corporations — whether you want to or not.

  2. If you refuse to buy the insurance, you’ll have to pay penalties of up to 2% of your annual income to the IRS.

  3. Many will be forced to buy poor-quality insurance they can’t afford to use, with $11,900 in annual out-of-pocket expenses over and above their annual premiums.

  4. Massive restriction on a woman’s right to choose, designed to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.

  5. Paid for by taxes on the middle class insurance plan you have right now through your employer, causing them to cut back benefits and increase co-pays.

  6. Many of the taxes to pay for the bill start now, but most Americans won’t see any benefits — like an end to discrimination against those with preexisting conditions — until 2014 when the program begins.

  7. Allows insurance companies to charge people who are older 300% more than others.

  8. Grants monopolies to drug companies that will keep generic versions of expensive biotech drugs from ever coming to market.

  9. No re-importation of prescription drugs, which would save consumers $100 billion over 10 years.

  10. The cost of medical care will continue to rise, and insurance premiums for a family of four will rise an average of $1,000 a year — meaning in 10 years, your family’s insurance premium will be $10,000 more annually than it is right now.

10 Reasons to Kill the Senate Bill

To that list, I'll add the elephant in the room: How are the new regulations, inadequate as they are, going to be enforced? Passing a law doesn't make people obey the law. Enforcement does. How will that work? I suspect it will work badly, if it can work at all.

The article goes on to provide a list of articles explaining each point, and then points to on online petition to sign asking the Senate to kill this bill.

Like Jane, I think the idea that this bill could be improved after it's passed is absurd. Look how much time and effort this one has taken. Is Congress going to sign up for another round? How would we expect it to go any better next time? Once they've passed a bill, they are going to think they have political cover. That's been one of the consistent themes of the people who advocate its passage. Plus, to be fair, there are other matters Congress needs to work on.

This action on FDL's part represents a change in their position on the bill. Initially, they supported passage, despite what I thought were fatal flaws. As the bill got worse, they changed their minds. Despite some criticism that's been both petty and off the mark, they have come to this position from a different one, and they have good reasons for the one they now have taken.

Once laws and bureaucracies are put in place, they tend to take on a life of their own. If the Senate version of the bill passes, the starting point for any future version of health care reform will be the Frankenstein monster of a bill that emerges from the House-Senate conference committee. At least starting with the House bill makes that prospect a little less frightening.

So, read the article, and if you agree, sign the petition.

It's still our country, so they keep telling me.

UPDATE: By inadvertently hitting the "Publish Post" button, I published this article at 11:09 before it was complete.


John Pieret said...

Reasons for less pessimism.

Cujo359 said...

That's a list of things that, for the most part, have been belabored quite a bit. If Social Security had to be enforced on powerful industries that were motivated and able to subvert that enforcement, it never would have gotten started.

I'm also less comforted by the idea that Olympia Snowe might become a Democrat. We have plenty of her kind of Democrat already.