Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fining people for being poor is NOT better than nothing

As someone who cares about human beings after they reach the post-fetal state, I'm left to wonder about reaction to what some are calling the HMO bailout by Congressional Democrats.

The so-called health care reform bill that passed the House would add an inadequate but tolerable in the short-term public option. But since the public option is the only part of the bill that would even modestly reform health care access, it's almost guaranteed to be emasculated in the Senate, where the "progressive" party holds a crushing 59-seat majority.

The rest of the bill has some things that would make needed, but small improvements to a badly broken system. These should be passed separately. However, by themselves, they are little more than putting slightly more comfortable deck chairs on the Titanic.

There has been much outrage by liberals and progressives against Democrats who voted against this "reform" bill. But I'm left to wonder if the criticisms are serious on the merit of the bill or simply a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that Republicans and Joe Lieberman hate it.

The bill's most unconscionable provision would levy fines against people who did not have health insurance. Essentially, this provision would punish people for being in difficult economic circumstances. It would fine people for being unable to afford insurance

I can't see how anyone who calls him/herself progressive can possibly support something that would fine people for being poor.

It's not the working class who would benefit from this health care "reform" sham, from being compelled to buy garbage they can't afford. It's the private insurance companies who would see a huge boon in revenues because the government would be forcing people to buy their crap.

Insurance companies have never cured an illness, sutured a wound or repaired a broken bone. They do not provide health care. All they do is shift around money and take their 30 percent cut. How they have this much power is a testament to corporate suffocation of what was once democratic governance.

Opposing this bill on this basis is not, as often derided, letting "the perfect be the enemy of the good." It's not some trifling objection. It's fundamental.

According to Democratic rhetoric, the purpose of the bill is to make health care more accessible and more affordable. Fining people for being poor necessarily makes health care for those people LESS accessible and LESS affordable. And for that reason alone, the bill should be opposed as long as this unconscionable provision is part of it.

Update: According to Wikipedia*: It is estimated that approximately 60 percent of poor Americans are not covered by Medicaid.

(*-the source link doesn't seem to work)


semi234 said...

From my understanding, the plan was offering subsidies to offset economic lack of income or hardship.

Brian said...

Partial subsidies or complete subsidies?

From what I understand, health care on the open market can run $300-400 a month for an individual. Obviously more if you have children. If your income is really tight, even a 50 pct subisidy probably won't be enough.