Another guy fails to understand why you can't do systemic change incrementally by mattsteinglass
September 10, 2009, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Health

The President’s Health Care Speech: A Quick Reaction | Capital Gains and Games.

Andrew Samwick wonders: if, as Obama said yesterday, “there is agreement in this chamber on about eighty percent of what needs to be done,” why can’t they just do that 80% and leave out the 20%? Samwick’s commenters explain to him why that is, notably one named  “mtnoflbc”, whose comment I’ll quote most of because it’s perfect (apart from its novel “universal ellipsis” punctuation policy):

for example, part of the 80% that we can agree on is that insurance companies should not be able to discriminate against pre-existing conditions… 

however, if we make that condition, we also must have an individual mandate to buy insurance! why? because without such a mandate, we would all just not pay for health insurance at all until we happen to get really sick or injured, and then we quickly purchase insurance to cover our illness/injury… then exit the insurance after all major healthcare has been paid for…

and then, if we have an individual mandate, we must provide subsidies so that low and middle-class families can actually afford their health insurance (or provide, in extreme cases, a hardship exception)… current proposals provide subsidies up to 300 or 400 percent of poverty levels… because you can’t mandate families pay for health insurance if they have a hard enough time paying for most of the other stuff they have to just to live…

this is why the healthcare debate is difficult… we all want america to be healthier, people to have access to healthcare, and to try to curb costs… but in order to fix the obvious problems, we also need to make difficult choices that may “grow” government or require more “spending”… this is what, generally speaking, healthcare reform is trying to do…

but opponents of healthcare reform either ignore the difficult questions that arise or pretend that there is nothing wrong with the current system as is… they want to fix healthcare without any “growth” of government or additional “spending”… it can’t be done… or at least any legitimately workable proposals have not been made… the opponents just scream of bigger government and spending and death panels and government bureaucracies, without an alternative proposal to fix the gigantic problems staring us in the face…


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