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Dear Democratic Senators,

Allow me to express my jubilation at the proposal to substitute a Medicare buy-in for 55-64 year olds to replace the vaunted public option.  I have come to expect great things from the U.S. Senate, but you are truly overcoming even those glorious expectations, delivering such good tidings during the holiday season for your biggest supporters and for the American people.  

Now that young voters are turning out in record numbers for Democrats, it only makes sense to assume that those voters will continue to vote Democratic for the rest of their lives.  The minor inconvenience of being forced by mandate to purchase outrageously expensive insurance from private companies will be a more than acceptable sacrifice for the greater of good of salvaging the Medicare system, thereby reducing the deficit so that Ben Bernanke can continue to prop up the banking system.  There's nothing more important to progressive young voters than ensuring that our best and brightest young minds can go to work for Goldman Sachs and other financial firms, while the rest survive long enough to apply for a Medicare buy-in at age 55.  Far more influential and beneficial for the Party and for the nation will be the influence a Medicare buy-in will have on those 60-year-old impressionable minds.  It's never a bad time to test the proposition that voters who lived through the Vietnam War and the election of Ronald Reagan will change their minds about party affiliation en masse.  Whatever you do, don't listen to this guy.  Or these guys.  They're idiots.

Flexibility and innovation in the workforce are also highly overrated.  What's critical at a time of inflated stock prices, corporate bailouts, low union membership and an employer-friendly Great Depression-level unemployment scenario is that we provide more and better help for big businesses and their employees.  By off-loading the healthcare costs of 55-65 year-olds from employer programs onto the government rolls, it will be much easier for employers to pad their bottom lines, thereby delivering better returns for stockholders, pensioners, 401K holders and various other investors.  Since most of those folks are at least 50 years old, that creates a virtuous circle for a critical voting demographic open to a change in party affiliation.

And frankly, small business owners can really take the hit.  All that talk about small business being the backbone of the economy?  It's good to see that you've discarded that pabulum as the hot air it is.  The ill-considered public option would have been targeted to small business owners currently unable to afford coverage for themselves (to say nothing of their employees, who should really be getting jobs at bigger firms or government institutions if they know what's good for them) absent substantial, temporary COBRA subsidies.  All things considered, that would be a horrible idea.  Big business would take a substantial hit: think of all the employees who remain employed at large firms solely because of the health benefits involved!  All of a sudden, you might see a rash of innovative small business entrepreneurs right and left, which would be horrible for the established business climate and the current mutually beneficial relationship between employer and employee.  God forbid that.  Far better to encourage early retirement from larger firms instead.

And besides, we all know from past experience that once Americans 55-65 are taken out of the private insurance pool, the insurance companies will automatically reduce the cost burden for healthier, younger Americans now forced to buy their product.  That's the beneficent invisible hand of the competitive free market which has been so good to all of us heretofore, and which we can trust with full confidence on into in the future.

When looking at public policy, it's inevitable that some people will be left out in the cold.  If you want an example of whom to leave stranded, look no further than someone like me.

I'm a 28-year-old small business owner currently between health plans, with COBRA subsidies set to expire in about a year.  I devote countless hours of my time that I could be spending building my business, to help the Democratic Party instead on a local, state and national level.  It makes perfect sense in the current climate to take my vote and my efforts for granted, and mandate me to purchase overpriced insurance, thereby forcing me in all probability to shut down my small business and instead throw myself into the loving arms of a large employer.  Or to abandon my political efforts in favor of somehow doubling my current business in the worst economic climate since the Great Depression.  That shouldn't be a problem.

But people like me aren't important.  You folks in the Senate need to stick up for #1, and take care of what really matters.

Come next November, so will I.

Originally posted to thereisnospoon (David Atkins) on Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 04:50 PM PST.

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