Among the range of options for health-care reform, there’s one that is sure to raise your taxes, increase your out-of-pocket medical expenses, swell the federal deficit, leave more Americans without insurance and guarantee that wages will remain stagnant.
That’s the option of doing nothing, letting things continue to drift as they have for the past two decades as we continue to search in vain for the perfect plan that would let everyone have everything they want and preserve everything they already have while getting someone else to pay for it.
So the next time you hear someone throwing a hissy fit because health reform might raise taxes on some people, or steer people into managed care, or require small businesses to contribute $2 a day for each employee’s coverage, just remember to ask yourself: And that’s compared with what?
I’ve seen projected costs for the status quo that are much higher than the projected costs of what the Right derides as “Obamacare,” yet somehow the people one sees on cable news are not worked up into a lather about the status quo costs. Just the costs of reform.
Meanwhile, one in six adult Americans have no health insurance. That doesn’t tell us how many millions more have insurance policies that will fail them if they get sick. I read about the Blue Dogs in Congress and Democratic obstructionists like Max Baucus, dithering around and picking the President’s plan to death because they are afraid of political fallout, and I want to break heads.
It’s like New Orleans after Katrina, when people were waiting on roofs to be rescued and the Bush Administration was preoccupied with how the hurricane might be used for political advantage. The lives of millions of Americans are forfeit to the whims of the insurance industry, and Baucus worries about “bipartisanship.” There are parents who daily watch their children struggle with health impairment without proper treatment, and the Blue Dogs dither. People are stuck in dead-end jobs and even marriages because they’re afraid of losing health benefits. And the Republicans scream that a national health care plan would deprive people of “liberty.”
It’s Katrina in slow motion, and we’re all New Orleans.