Monday, November 9, 2009

Health Care

So the House of Representatives passed a health-care bill over the weekend.

I'm taking a long, hard look at the bill, and will report back.

But I say that anyone who is uncritically cheering, refusing to acknowledge the notable harms of the proposals, is -- in the Painester's book -- a total fuckhead.

And anyone who is uncritically mourning, refusing to acknowledge the notable boons of the proposals, is -- in the Painester's book -- a total fuckhead.

It remains my considered view that the divergent political movements in the country (you know, the communist pinkos and the reactionary nazis) have largely good intentions*, but differing values and priorities. If these were easy fixes without difficult, difficult tradeoffs, we would have solved the big problems long ago. So we have to muddle through with our big fights, cleaning up as we go along.

I know some disagree. You disagreers are far more cynical than me, and are -- in the Painester's book -- total fuckheads.

But I still love you.

Anyway, doing this bill, doing a different bill, or doing nothing, will all have painful, crappy consequences. I hope that the mix and the tradeoffs in the statute [and I am certain we'll get one] are limited in their damage and bountiful in their reward.

*self-interested, self-promoting hucksters who are selling their incendiary or divisive "politics" have legions of followers -- it's great to hang out with people who play to your passions (redheaded licentious,publicly-masturbating women with big bank accounts and loose financial safeguards are, oh, I don't know, a decent example) -- but are not, imho, the movements. Not at all.

And I recognize that every politician is arguably a self-interested, self- promoting huckster. Or maybe that isn't even arguable. I'm trying to distinguish between entertainers who have chosen "politics" as the preferred story backdrop for their performances (Limbaugh, Beck)from people involved in process and policy. A difficult distinction.


Who Am Us Anyway? said...

I'm taking a long, hard look at the bill, and will report back ...

You're a better man that I am Gunga Din! Good luck and god speed!

Mythical Monkey said...

This is my personal opinion, and it's only an opinion, which I will offer and then I have to be away from my computer for a few hours.

Americans would ideally like three things from their health care system: (1) to be the best available, without limitation, compromise or management; (2) to be affordable; and (3) to be universally available.

The bitter truth is that, at most, only two of those three things can be had at any given time. To chose any two, sends the third shooting off in a direction we don't want it to go.

Another bitter truth is that at the moment we don't have any of the three.

Yet another bitter truth is that politicians are not and never will be elected to speak plainly about bitter truths. To expect them to anyway is as utopian as claiming you can achieve all three health goals simultaneously. So let's not waste time talking about that.

To the extent that there are politicians willing to think about the bitter truth and then to serve it up in sugar-coated nuggets for the electorate, another bitter truth is that they are of different philosophical minds about which of the three goals to sacrifice to have the other two. Assuming for the sake of argument that no elected official actually believes we should carve up poor people for spare parts, I think that any of these philosophical positions is (or, well, to be more accurate could be) arrived at honestly (I am certain that many if not most politicians arrive at their positions for craven reasons, but for the sake of this argument, no matter).

The final bitter truth, one that has played out in every election since George Washington first ran for president, is that no one philosophical position can muster enough votes to carry the day. Which means to pass a health care bill, you need a coalition of different-minded people to compromise.

Compromise is messy and emotionally unsatisfying. Everybody gives up something. None of the three goals get met, we only push closer toward one or two of them.

And that's the best we're going to do.

And if the Senate can get something done and if the House and Senate can compromise on a single bill and then if the House and the Senate can pass that bill, then one early morning we'll eat the sausage that results and say, "This isn't nearly as good as steak, but it's better than going hungry."

¡barangus!™ said...

Well I want the health care plan that all these tea baggers that Fox News musters up have. That's some dandy gold-plated plan they all have given their hew and cry about Obama-care. ANd it must be cheap, right?