The long-debated healthcare reform bill passed tonight. The reactions I’ve seen have ranged from joy, to fear, to anger, to certainty that America is going down the socialist toilet even faster than before. I’d like to weigh in.
I am against this healthcare reform bill. But I am not against healthcare reform. I just don’t believe this bill is right. The most important crisis facing America today is not healthcare; it’s unemployment. In my mind, that should be apparent to everyone. Of course, it’s not and I realize it’s arrogant for me to think everyone should think the way I do.
This bill is, in my humble opinion, too expensive. This bill will require business owners to spend so much on required healthcare revisions, that they will be forced to put off investing that money into growing their businesses, and therefore putting off hiring people who need work. The unemployment rate in America is absolutely ridiculous – no, let me correct that; it’s absolutely shameful. It’s shameful that unemployment is what it is, and our leadership has been somehow sucked into making a choice tonight that will result in millions more jobs being lost, and are going home tonight patting each other on the backs thinking they’ve done a good thing. They didn’t. They screwed up.
So, I think the bill is bad. But, I still think we need healthcare reform, desperately. I’m thinking of close friends who faced a life-threatening disease a few years ago, and in the process of fighting it (and beating it, thank God), they lost nearly everything. These are responsible, kind, hard-working, creative, amazing people. They were and still are an example to me of financial wisdom – and they still lost nearly everything.
There are of course many other examples of people whose present coverage doesn’t go far enough, or who aren’t able to get coverage, and many other problems that are, admittedly, too big for me to think about. I do not, repeat, do not advocate a national healthcare system where a government-run system is the provider. That would be stupid. There’s absolutely nothing in our history that indicates the government is capable of handling large complex organizations with anything approaching efficiency. So, that’s out.
I also don’t think this business of requiring people to have medical insurance is reasonable. Proponents of this idea compare it to auto insurance, and say stuff like, “Well, we require people to get auto insurance don’t we? This is kind of like that.” No it’s not. Not even close. If I don’t have car insurance and I cause an accident, there’s a good chance that someone else’s property or life will be hurt by my accident, and I’m going to have to be able to cover them. However, if I don’t have health insurance and I get sick, no one else is going to be damaged because I got sick. I’m not likely to have a liability issue with anyone because of my shingles or whatever I have. So the whole “make everyone buy health insurance” thing is dumb.
But that doesn’t change the fact that significant numbers of people are falling through the cracks, not getting the care they need, and I’d like to believe that at least some of that could be addressed through better regulation. I’m not saying the government needs to take over healthcare. I’m just saying the government needs to step up here and fix the parts that are broken, without dumping the whole baby.
I realize that this little post may confuse some people, because we tend to either love this kind of stuff or hate it, in total. But I’m a guy who feels a lot of compassion for people who are struggling financially over sickness – not their fault – and feels that we are compelled morally to do something about that. At the same time, I’m a guy who has observed the government in action for many decades, under both major parties, and that observation makes me wary of seeing them get involved in anything else. Ever.
But, something has to be done anyway. It’s time for something to happen to that bill before it gets to the President, like maybe the guy delivering it could stop at Starbucks with it first, and spill something on it, and have to go get a new one printed up, and then there could be printer issues. Something. But we need to slow this baby down and think, because what we did tonight was crazy.
P.S. – Comments are open, for all views. But if you’re a jerk, your comment will disappear.