The Goal

This morning, readingEzra:

According to a Democratic source, CBO has finished its work and will
release the official preliminary score later today. But here are the
basic numbers: The bill will cost $940 billion over the first 10 years
and reduce the deficit by $130 billion during that period. In the
second 10 years — so, 2020 to 2029 — it will reduce the deficit by
$1.2 trillion.The legislation will cover 32 million Americans, or 95
percent of the legal population.

Emphasis mine. You get everybody health insurance, great.You still have shit like this happening:

Listen to this story from a new report on maternal mortality in the U.S.:

Trina Bachtel, a 35-year-old white
woman, was insured at the time of her pregnancy, but the local clinic
had reportedly told her that it required a US$100 deposit to see her,
because she had incurred a medical debt some years earlier – even
though the debt had since been repaid. Trina Bachtel delayed seeking
care, unable to afford the fee at the local clinic. She finally
received medical attention in a hospital but her son was stillborn. She
was later transferred to another hospital in Ohio where she died in
August 2007, two weeks after the birth.

For a country that supposedly has the most innovative health care system in the world, we seem to suck at the basics.

That’s because we think of insurance as the basics. We think of the opportunity to see a doctor as the basics, not the actuality of seeing a doctor.

The same health care system that keeps people from going to the
doctor when they have a cold keeps women from getting decent prenantal
care. The stresses of living at the bottom of the economic ladder make
it even worse.

Many women report not being able to go to the doctor because they
risk being fired from their jobs for missing work. Medicaid can even be
a barrier in itself – for Medicaid to cover a pregnancy, a woman first
has to get a letter from her doctor confirming her pregnancy. How do
you go to the doctor to get the letter if you don’t have health care?

Even if you have insurance, and even if you can keep your insurance when you need your insurance, and even if there’s a hospital within driving distance and even if your car works that day and even if you can get an appointment with a gynecologist to practice their love and even if that appointment doesn’t cost anything, you’re still mightily screwed if you can’t take the day off work or if you get paid by the hour and can’t afford rent if you take off the hours.

And the reason we don’t consider shit like that in the debate we’re having is ain’t none of our congressional betters EVER about to be in that situation. No one leading the debate in this country has a job they can’t ask off from, has a car they pray will start every morning, has a thousand miles to go before the nearest emergency room. If they did, we’d start seeing things in legislative form like mandating post-7 p.m. or pre-8 a.m. doctor’s office hours, billions in give-aways for increasing public transportation to and from hospitals, and stronger laws protecting even part-time workers from punishment if they get sick.

The legislation will cover 32 million Americans. I’ve said this before, but the goal is not to get everybody health coverage. The goal is to get everybody healthcare. Not even single-payer, not even the wildest, reddest fantasies of the craziest socialist in this country right now would accomplish that, not in this country today. Not when you do not have the doctors to treat the sick, nor enough hospital beds to hold them, inexpensive drugs to prescribe, pharmacies to fill those prescriptions or employer-employee relations that allow for the humanity of illness of oneself or a family member.


6 thoughts on “The Goal

  1. It’s pretty clear that the Democratic party is committed to doing the absolute least it can possibly do and not get lynched. It’s also pretty clear that most Democrats treat politics like a sporting match, and don’t give a shit about results so long as their side ‘wins’. So you get a bill that forces people to buy junk insurance without any real actions to ensure that people actually receive healthcare. They’ll lie to themselves and pretend a $5,000 fine is ‘banning rescission’ and offering ‘guaranteed issue’, even though it does neither.
    Anyone serious about making this world a better place should just abandon politics altogether. It’s clear this country is too corrupt for any such efforts to pay off, and we’re all much better volunteering to do real charity work rather than volunteering for politicians who don’t give a shit about helping people, and never really will.
    At least Obama will be gone in a couple of years and so-called progressives will go back to pretending to give a shit about someone other than themselves and Barack Obama.

  2. Athenae, this – and everything else you write – should be required reading for all 536 of our tin-earred, economic-reality-illiterate Elected Oaficials.

  3. Great post, A.
    I know this is off point but “practice their love” made me laugh and laugh. One element of great blogging is seamlessly laying down occasional references to something else as a little reward to those who have been paying close attention. It’s like little Hershey’s Kisses for the reader. John Cole has a real talent for that, too. It takes a sense of restraint and humor to know how to put stuff like that down without trying to draw attention to it, and to trust the audience to pick it up & be delighted by it. The temptation is to play it up big with lots of hand waving so a good funny doesn’t go to waste.

  4. You should probably mention that over half of that 32 million people are going to be really, really pissed that they’re being forced to buy crappy, overpriced insurance.

  5. I find it hard to believe that the 32 million who find they have to buy health insurance are going to be ripped off. Remember, if you earn less than $50,000 or whatever it is per year, you get that insurance at a cut rate price. If you earn a lot less than that you get it for almost nothing. It behooves us to stop pretending to be victims when someone hands us a goody.
    So, why don’t we wait and read what the final HCR bill says before we spread misinformation about what it says.

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