Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Health Care Reform Fantasies

I’ve been having a good deal of fun mocking the ridiculous, hyperbolic and downright idiotic arguments the right wing has been making about healthcare reform, but I’ve not yet written anything about where I actually stand on the issue. And I’m still not going to in this post because, frankly, I just don’t know enough about the issue to take a strong stand on it. But I do feel confident enough to say this much:

If you really think that whatever ends up passing as health care reform legislation is going to give coverage to the tens of millions of uninsured people AND preserve full choice of your own doctors and hospitals AND reduce total health care spending in this country while not also driving up the deficit….you’re living in a fantasy world. It simply isn’t going to happen.

Recently, President Obama had this to say at a rally:

“Here’s what reform will mean for you. It will mean lower costs, and more choices and coverage you can count on. Health-insurance reform will save you and your family money…We’ll also change incentives so that our doctors and nurses can finally start providing patients with the best care and not just the most expensive care. And if we do that, then reform … will lower deficits in the long run.”

This is the kind of pie-in-the-sky promise that politicians make all the time but never actually comes true. In the real world, every new policy comes with tradeoffs. And this is especially true in this country, where the process of writing legislation is so cumbersome and absurd that any bill that passes, rather than being some kind of rational, well thought out, coherent solution to a problem, is really a hodgepodge of conflicting payouts and payoffs to the moneyed interests.