Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Health Care - Fight Night

"Iiiin the Red corner, it's the man with the private plan, the carefully coiffured caregiver to the Commonwealth, the mighty Mormon middleweight, Miiiiiiiitttttt Romneeeey!"

[lights flash, random crowd noise, incoherent thunder from the gigantic woofers]

"And in the Blue corner, weighing in at 50 billion bucks, she's the heroine of human services, the diva of discretionary spending, the hyena of the budget subpeona, Czarina Kathaleeena Sebeeeeeeeelius!"

[thunder ramps up, crowd cheers.]

"Let's get ready to rrrrrruuuuuuuummmmmble!"

[brass noises increase in volume and crowd cheers "charge," then hushes.]

"It's an epic fight, wouldn't you say, Chris? Kathy's got the Democratic health care plan, and Mitt, well, he used to legislate this stuff."

"That's right Bob, and she's armed with secret documents. Look at her dance around those voters."

"Free Market Mitt looks a little dragged down out there. I thought he'd been training."

"Well, his platform has taken a few blows, and he's been trying to change his style too much. He doesn't want competition, but he still wants to advocate competition."

"He's going for the mental battle then. A chess master!"

"That's right Bob, if people could afford a government plan, they might actually buy it, and where would that leave his trainers?"

"His plan is to keep private coverage from getting better? A bold move! No wonder they called him... Er, what did they call him in Massachusetts, Chris? Wow, look at that feint!"

[oohs from the crowd.]

"Not even close to her, but she flinched. A Trojan horse! Whoa, pony!"

"Look! Sebelius is back on him. She wants competition. Her boss wants competition. U! S! A!"

"Mitt says there's enough competition!"

"You ever had a choice in yours, Bob?"

"They're going to have to make the plan awfully useless to keep consumers from defecting to it, Chris. The industry doesn't want her throwing any haymakers either. No hitting below the money belt.

"We don't make the rules."

"My God, Mitt might strike a blow! Unbelievable!"

"He hasn't been near a voter in five years, Bob."

"Look, Chris! The employers could defect. They could drop their workers and wash their hands of the whole thing, whatever service they all end up with."

"No wonder Kathy's dodging!"

"You hear that? She said that dismantling private coverage would discourage more employers from coming into the market place."

"Brilliant diversion!"

"It looks like a bad play to me, Chris. What good does insurance do for employers? It just makes hiring people more expensive."

"You're not thinkging about insurance employers"

"Masters. Chess. Masters."

[crowd oohs]

"It sounds rough down there. What's going on?"

[oohs turn to boos]

"It's a heckler! How'd she get in here? Hey Al, think we can get a feed down there?"

[various thumps, screech of feedback]

"...bzzt...ingle pay...crkrk...alf the costs!...sqwawjkivilized world...brrrr...anada and Fr[bleep!]"

"My God, get her out of there!"

"For the folks watching at home, we are aware this is a family-friendly fight, and we run a small time delay to keep it in FCC code."

"Any response from the fighters?"


"It looks like that's the round. Mitt's wandering back to his corner, maybe one of those other guys will replace him."

"Well, they all have a copy of something in their hands, and they're wearing the same suit.

"It looks like Kathy might have said something to the heckler, but no one seems able to make any sense out of it."

"The crowd's still booing."

"Neither of them look very damaged, Chris, or even particularly interested. Will this fight ever end?"

"It'll go to decision, Bob."

"Right, and hopefully by then, the audience will forget about it."

"Stay healthy, everyone. Stay employed."

"Good night, America"


Schmutzie said...

heh heh....nicely played.

"Insurance employers."

Yeah, they do have an industry don't they? That could be a problem.

Keifus said...

Yup, that was my ride in yesterday, and I might have to take artnsoul's advice pretty soon. We have the Republicans on one side claiming, adamantly, that they are firmly against any plan that might tempt consumers with a better deal. And the Democrats say that they wouldn't possibly threaten our precious clusterfuck of private coverage because Amerimumble-capigurble-LOOKOVERTHERE!

It ain't that I'm a flaming socialist, but I'd happily support any system of universal coverage because (1) bigger risk pools = cheaper per capita contribution, (2) everyone is covered and public health affects me too, (3) considerable improvement in quality of life (less worry in any number of ways), and (4) it's a considerable advantage for anyone (outside the insurance industry) that considers hiring American workers. Oh, and (5) the bureaucracy and corruption and beancounting may be as bad as now, but it's unlikely to be any worse. Most of the opposition remains purely conjectural, despite the fact that it's been proven to work in the rest of the first world.

Maybe the US plan even allows funding for massive R&D, to undercut one argument. Super: even if we don't achieve the 50% cut in premiums it'd take to get the quality of life that Europe and Canada enjoy, we could still nail points 2-4 with a universal plan.

Mitt might even be right. And possibly the right plan might be a good way to provide a chink in the armor of the current system. It might give an excuse for companies to abandon health coverage, the only problem of which is that the govt plan is likely to suck eggs (this is America after all; prolly won't be tax-funded either, even though it'd make the most sense that way), but would surely help out the companies themselves. This morning NPR reported that the Dems (who, as it happens, haven't released an actual plan) are considering a fine for employers who don't keep up the private ins plans. The Reps were against this too. Bad as the Dem position is, at least I can piece together a sort of consistency in it.

And I don't think anything meaningful will pass. If it was something they actually wanted, they might have tried to build support and market the thing. Or you know, listened to their constituents.

Done ranting.

Schmutzie said...

I don't think anything meaningful will pass either, although it's just a matter of time before we come up with some form of UHC.

The system as currently set up cannot be sustained, whether the two parties currently have a workable alternative or not. The insurance industry is going to take a hit, and will probably be unrecognizable in 20 years.

If the system is entirely or partially taken over by the Govt, I can imagine many of those working for Blue Cross will find jobs with the new Govt insurance sinkhole. Yeah, it's never better to governmentalize anything huge, but at some point we have to make sure everyone gets coverage, if for no other reason than to spread the cost around more evenly.

Keifus said...

Yeah if we get the all of the citizens under the umbrella (employed or not) and keep our uniquely American version of corporate welfare going, we'd still be better off than now.

K (which I guess summarizes anyone's best guess of the Obama plan)

twif said...

hey, i work in the insurance racket, er, industry. just not health insurance.

insurance companies are working steadily to offshore every-fucking-position.

Keifus said...

the bastards.

I'm sure we can make a little room in the military-industrial complex for you, twif.

artandsoul said...

I'm with twif ... in that I directly benefit from the Insurance Industry (not health but Med Mal) and so I feel a bit heretical saying this, but:

They're bastards and not to be trusted.

However, I do like my house and my car.

I'm conflicted only in that I sometimes feel a little like Carmela. Um, I don't really pay attention to what he does. I'm raising the kids.

Yeah. That's it.