I usually spend more time here then I should debating this topic or that topic. But for almost a week I've stayed away (but reading more than ever elsewhere). The reason is simple. Like many folks here I am so upset about HCR I can't even see straight. I'm mad at the Republicans first and foremost. But a close second is Obama and the White House. Lieberman, Nelson, et al. Even the few progressive members of the House and Senate. I am just mad across the board. I got enough anger for them all and I still have some leftover.
I often mention to people when I talk about my political views it can be tough thinking what I think. I've been voting for more than two decades and not a single candidate I supported for President has ever made it to the general election. Often my second, third, even fourth choice gets the nod. But after a couple days of being pissed off, I pick myself back up and support our candidate, because well the alternative of a Republican is something I just can't bear.
But I had hopes Obama might be different. Don't get me wrong, I know he isn't a hardcore progressive. I know he isn't as liberal as myself. But on HCR (and a few other issues) I felt he'd get something done similar to what I would hope for. It appears I was wrong.
There have been countless Diaries written here about the entire process and where mistakes were made. My favorite is we seemed to start the debate with what we wanted, instead of something else far superior (like Single Payer) that would eventually, after making concessions to secure votes, get us the core basics. But I digress.
I could pick about ten different things I am pissed off about. Individual mandates. That Lieberman can seem to control the entire process. That we let him. That Dean seems to be getting attacked for stating the obvious. That progressives in the House and Senate are saying there is "much good in the bill" even though the items they have fought hard to get into the bill for the last year have all been stripped out. Heck that the Senate seems to be a "black hole" where legislation goes to die.
But in an attempt to stay focused, I want to talk about Individual Mandates.
Why are we having this HCR debate in the first place? Cause for-profit insurance companies suck. More than 40 million Americans don't, can't obtain, or afford coverage. Thousands of Americans die each year because they don't have coverage. Tens of thousands more going bankrupt. Families are paying huge percentages of their income to maintain coverage (with huge deductibles and co-pays). Small business, the backbone of our economy, are collapsing under health care expenses. Others fear leaving a job for another position cause of a family member with a preexisting condition.
That is why this debate is happening, the current system isn't working for anybody but the insurance companies and their shareholders.
Yet somehow I am supposed to believe a few little reforms here or there and individual mandates (w/ taxpayers provided aid) to push maybe 30M Americans into plans offered by these same insurance companies is something I am supposed to be happy about. The solution to the problem.
This is such a joke I don't even know where to start. Politicians, even some true progressives, that just a week or so ago were telling me how "evil" insurance companies are (the root cause of the problem they'd say) are now telling me they are part of the solution. Give me; excuse my language, a fucking break!
It defies any and all logic. And I'd say about half my anger is they think I am stupid enough to buy this line of BS.
Now here is what I think will happen. The bill will pass, with even more changes that weaken it further. In a few years tens of millions of Americans will be forced into private insurance programs with aid from taxpayers. Then the nightmare stories will start. How this insurance company and that insurance company found a loophole here or there. Raised their rates 16% a year, to where the government can't afford to keep offering aid.
Some poor single mother will be on MSNBC telling her story about how her infant son died cause the "government supported" plan she bought (by law to avoid fines) into wouldn't cover the treatment required. A small business owner will wave a letter to the cameras noting the fines he might have to pay cause he offers health care to his employees, but can't afford it for his own family. A new funding bill will have to be brought up in Congress cause the rate increases blew through all the money the White House budgeted. It will become a total nightmare.
And guess what, since not a single Republican voted for the HCR bill it will be hung around our necks like a ten ton anvil. And we will lose election after election. Locally, state-wide, and nationally.
I've learned a lot working for 20 years in a pretty cut-throat industry. If I have to sign my name to a plan I sign my name to MY plan (or at least one I agree with). If it fails I take the fall, as I should. But I refuse to put my name to something I don't believe in 110%. We got a lot of our elected leaders about to do that, and they're (and therefore we) are going to pay the price. Mark my words!