Not-So-Sudden Victory

What is repulsive is not that one man should earn more than others, for where community of environment, and a common education and habit of life, have bred a common tradition of respect and consideration, these details of the counting house are forgottten or ignored, It is that some classes should be excluded from the heritage of civilization which others enjoy, and that the fact of human fellowship, which is ultimate and profound, should be obscured by economic contrasts, which are trivial and superficial. [R.H. Tawney]

Congratulations to all the Dems–not just the elected ones–who worked to pass the health care bill.  It’s a big achievement. Thanks to Speaker Pelosi. Thanks to Senator Feinstein. Thanks to Senator Boxer. Thanks to all the members of the tireless liberal MSM!

Whatever CBO says or doesn’t say, I don’t for one minute believe that the bill’s new, highly subsidized system of insurance “exchanges”– allowing millions of less affluent citizens to gain access to ever-more-complicated medical technology–will  “bend the curve” of health care costs downwards or help the nation’s deficit situation.   I’d be surprised if even a third of the Democrats who voted for the bill believe it.   I suspect most of them support the bill for the same reasons most Democrats do–as a crucial step in preventing trivial and superficial economic contrasts from translating into ultimate and profound life and death decisions.

They–we–know there will almost certainly be a big additional bill to pay down the road. It will be even bigger if, as we can hope and expect, government attempts to restrict potentially useful treatments in the name of economy prove unsustainably unpopular. But it will be easier to pay this bill once everyone is in the same system–when old people can’t argue that their care is being cut in order to insure the young, etc..  We will all be figuring out how to pay for ourselves.

P.S.: The exchanges may not work either! Maybe future Congresses will decide to add a “public option,” or scrap them entirely in favor of a Medicare-like system that eliminates the insurance company middlemen. But they might work. It makes sense to try them first.

P.P.S.:  Good time for this song again. 12:52 A.M.


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  1. Posted March 22, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Do you promise to continue making smart & perfect allusions to great music even as senator?

    If so, I promise to donate.

  2. mdv
    Posted March 22, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Question: If insurance companies are legally obliged to insure me no matter what pre-existing conditions I may have, why would I buy insurance until I needed it? The proposed maximum penalties in the senate plan are $2,250 for a family. My wife and I already pay $10,000 (soon to be $14,000) to Anthem Blue Cross (California). Doesn’t the spread between paying annually for coverage versus just paying the penalty set up a very perverse incentive to drop your insurance until you need it?

    What am I missing?

  3. Posted March 22, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    What makes you so certain we’ll all be in one system? If health care quality declines and access to cutting-edge care is limited for most, why won’t the affluent flee to boutique practices, etc.?

    Good luck with your primary race, btw.

  4. Ed
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    I’m not a Democrat. I’m not going to pretend I’m at all in favor of this bill.

    But I’d be slightly less disgusted by it if any of its official advocates would admit to what you’ve said about the costs in public instead lying over and over again about the wonderful economies we’ll get.

  5. Robert L. Jones
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    You are as naive as those you chastise for supporting labor unions. Labor unions don’t help workers and health care “reform” won’t help the country. What we now face is:
    – a looming shortage of doctors…would you go to school for 10 yrs for the privilege of serving as a govt beaurocrat? Won’t happen overnight, but nonetheless is inevitable.
    – a shriveling health care sector…why invest in new technologies, new drugs, etc if the prospect of being paid for the research is diminished? That’ll be great for jobs.
    – long waits and poorer quality care for all. How else are you going to serve all the people suddenly introduced into the system?
    – a diversion of private savings to further fatten the govt hog with no offsetting reduction of deficit or debt. Also great for jobs.
    In every place I’ve visited in the world , folks would gladly send their children out to be “poor” persons in the US. People like you are determined to wreck what we are so fortunate to have in the name of equality of condition. Don’t you find it ironic that 1) you can’t keep your medicare promises without now soaking the young and 2) generally reducing the quality of care for everyone. Didn’t you learn anything from your idiotic welfare scheme of not too many years ago? Didn’t that end up devestating multiple generations of afric. amer’s? When will you guys learn that your hearts are bigger than your brains? How all you people graduated big name schools and didn’t pick up a lick of common sense while there, will eternally baffle me.

    I hope you never have to go to India for your bypass or valve replace…That’s a really long airplane trip.

  6. Frank G
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 1:39 am | Permalink

    Good to see you back, unfettered, and with a Boxer in your sights

  7. Dan
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    So This is How Liberty Dies…With Thunderous Applause:

    The post I just linked to is the best post I have read in months. I know it’s easy to get down after last night, but this post really picked me up and I hope it picks you up as well.

  8. Mickey Kaus
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    It’s not at all clear we’ll all be in one system. That’s why we have to spend enough to make the system good enough for the affluent not to bail out of (which means good enough for good doctors not to bail out of). So far Medicare has been good enough, I think, but it may not be in the future.
    That’s another reason not to plan on bending the curve downwards.

  9. Posted March 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I also doubt whether the health care bill if it passes into law will be able to provide health care to the less privileged Americans. It’s a lofty promise that many cannot be optimistic about.

  10. tom
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    What a stirring Tawney quote. But you don’t meant it!

    How do the quote or Tawney’s beliefs not apply equally to those who desire to come here from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, etc…? If you’re saying it’s purely a question of money and practicality, then you sound more like a union leader (“we can only afford to protect OUR guys”) than a man who believes what I think Tawney did. Dressing it up with such a braod appeal to universal brotherhood seems a little over-excited and Sullivanesque.

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