The Importance of Being Insured

Freddie deBoer writes:

Personally, I think denying people adequate health care coverage because of their economic condition or employment status is a practical and ethical failure equal to Jim Crow or similar regimes of racial inequality. Now you can know me by my extremism. And so the meticulously curated pose of believing in a theoretical regime of universal health care while opposing all real reform seems to me to be dishonest and worse.

There have been no real efforts at reform emanating from the right. The closest thing was the Wyden/Bennett bill to which Bob Bennett hung his name and and for which he subsequently lost his long-held senate seat. That, in any case, was the brainchild of Ron Wyden, a real champion of the healthcare debates. I’m glad several Republicans were willing to sign on to it, even if they did so knowing it would never pass. Certainly no Republicans would now.

Dave Weigel reported recently on a new bill Senators John Barasso and Lindsey Graham have introduced in the Senate, The State Health Care Choice Act, which essentially allows states to opt out of the new healthcare law. It’s important to note that Senator Wyden already had something like this included in the original law (indeed, under Wyden’s amendment states can easily set up their own plans even without individual mandates, which sort of takes the wind out of the sails of all these lawsuits if you ask me…). The difference between his and Barasso/Graham’s legislation is that Wyden allowed opting out if states were able to meet or beat federal criteria. The Republican version is simply an opt-out, no strings attached.

Weigel reports Graham saying, “You didn’t listen to us when we had ideas.” Right. Republicans had control of the government until 2006, and of the White House until 2008. No healthcare reform bill full of Republican ideas was forthcoming – only the hugely expensive senior-citizen bribe known as Medicare Part D. Perhaps Graham means we didn’t listen to all the Republican ideas on how to obstruct healthcare reform.

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