Well, the debate over healthcare reform continues to rage. The Democrat's [and White House's] proposals become more and more watered-down each time the President opens his mouth. While many in the House of Reps think the public option is the defining characteristic of positive reform legislation, the President continues to undermine this perspective by saying that the public option is not only, not the cornerstone of this healthcare reform legislation, but is not the only major part of it either. Alright, Prez, what is?
I understand his desire to make the legislation seem less controversial by staying away from what the conservatives are deeming "socialist" legislation (i.e. the public option), but what I fail to understand is his failure to understand that no matter how ineffective Democrats make the bill, Republicans are simply not going to support it. And actually, this claim is a little bit overzealous, as many Democrats are not going to support either, because they're in the back pockets of the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies (e.g. Max Baucus).
Essentially, the system we currently have in place awards the insurance companies with tens of billions of dollars in profit each year, by insuring the healthy, and dropping insurance (or denying in the first place) for those that are unhealthy, or potentially unhealthy. Therefore, it would certainly be a start to make legislation requiring the insurance companies to take on individuals with pre-existing conditions, and not to drop individuals once new conditions develop, but there's one major part of the legislation that will do more to insure insurance companies' profits and do nothing to curb the high costs (unless we have the public option), and that is the mandate that all individuals will be required to have health insurance. Unless this public option is passed, this will essentially usher 60 million new individuals into the healthcare industry (most of whom are fairly healthy), without providing any option as to how they're going to pay for something that they already couldn't pay for before it was mandated. I'm pretty sure if people could afford insurance right now, they'd be paying for it; therefore, I'm not sure how requiring someone to purchase something they cannot afford from a company that is looking to maximize profits at the expense of the people paying for the required service is helpful to anyone. The President says that people shouldn't go bankrupt trying to pay for medicals bills because they don't have insurance, but what about people not being able to afford to pay their other bills because they're required to pay for health insurance. Don't play the fool, Obama, you already let the cat out of the bag about how smart you are.
That brings me to the next point, which is that if any sort of positive progressive healthcare reform legislation actually made it to the floor of the House, and then actually passed (I imagine along very partisan lines) in the House, there would still be the huge roadblock to any legislation, let alone anything that could possibly be labeled effective, called the United States Senate. You remember the Senate, right; these were the same people who brought you the 2000 election finale, the TARP controvery, and the [*snicker*] stimulus package.
Once the dust settles - and the Dems settle, for a bad bill - we'll probably find that Obama has completely spent all of his political capital and credibility, for essentially ineffective healthcare reform legislation. He's already alienating conservatives (misrepresented, misconstrued, and misplaced or not, it's still happening), he's alienating liberals, and those in the middle just want things to go back the way they were; back when they could buy a house, buy a car, work a crummy job, and be generally unhappy, without having to worry about their taxes going up and down, the economy in flux, or the healthcare needs of a mere 50 million uninsured Americans (only some 16% of the population).