Malicious Mischief

I admit that when I read about health-insurance reform, I lose my sense of humor.  And I have to say that I’m really crabby this morning after reading that “about half the states” are considering or have passed anti-mandatory health insurance laws.  They want you to have the freedom to be without health insurance if you want, and to pay for healthcare out of pocket if you can.  Never mind that a lot of these same states mandate the purchase of auto insurance, and/or how much coverage one must purchase.  Apparently that’s different, but I don’t know how.  The inability to take care of one’s health for financial reasons is a social liability just like driving a car without insurance is.  The costs are just a bit less visible, that’s all.

That is to say, this scheme makes no sense and stinks of obstructionism and corporate meddling.

It’s hard to say yet just how much it stinks, as any federal law would likely trump any state law.  But it could tie up the whole idea of universal health insurance in the courts for years, wasting needless time, money, and lives.

Now, before I go further, let me state this: I am against the mandated purchase of health insurance unless there is a public option.  But I am also against political grandstanding, probably backed by corporations, aimed at manipulating stupid and/or misinformed wingnuts so that they will support something that is bad for them — that is, no health insurance reform at all.

How do I know this is nothing but grandstanding?  Read this from David A. Leib, Associated Press,  Mon Feb 1, 8:28 am ET:

Many Democratic lawmakers are skeptical of both the intent and the effect of the state measures, entitled in many states as the “Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act.” Some have derided it as “political theater” or an attempt to merely shape the public debate.

Yes.  Political theater it is, and nothing more.  Note the kneejerk term “freedom of choice” — that’s the giveaway.  This is a dirty term when applied to abortion but a worshipped one when applied to guns, and now apparently to healthcare (as long as it doesn’t apply to “women’s healthcare”).  Go figure.

The thing is, I didn’t know we had freedom of choice in healthcare.  It has always seemed to me that the insurance companies were the ones who had that, and were abusing it.  It’s almost impossible for most people to purchase private health insurance.  The vast majority of us have to be insured through an employer, IF the employer provides insurance.  Many times the premiums are almost as big as our mortgage payments.  If the employer doesn’t provide insurance, then we do without.  If we lose our jobs — and more and more of us are having that experience at least once in our careers — and our COBRA runs out or we can’t afford it to begin with, we do without.  And even if we are covered, the insurance companies get to decide what care we will get, if we get care, and how much they will pay, if anything at all.  Why would we pass laws to preserve that?

What Congress is trying to do is stop the abuse, however misguidedly they are currently going about it.  And the last time the states organized a revolt, it was also for a stupid reason.  Never forget what happened. 

This time they are revolting to keep us all slaves to the health insurance companies.  There’s a vast difference between that and what was endured by the slaves in the south, but for some people without insurance, it isn’t much.  We need something more than a choice between poverty and healthcare. 

The current Senate proposal sucks, but it may be enough to shock the insurance companies into the same reality as the rest of us.  And that may be all we need.

This idiocy from the states, however, is needed by no one except the insurance companies who are probably paying our premium money for it.

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