Health Care and Sausage

November 7th, 2009

By Tom Carter

sausageThey say you shouldn’t watch sausage being made if you ever want to eat it again.  The same applies to the legislative process in Congress, especially where the issues are as complex and controversial as health care.  These particular sausage makers disagree on what the ingredients should be, how much of what kind of meat should be included, how long each sausage should be, and just about everything else.

The one thing they have in common, most of them, is they don’t much care what the sausage costs because they’ve worked it out so that most of the cost of everyone’s sausage will be paid by rich folks.  That’s what they say, anyway, and some of them even believe it.

The Washington Post has one of the better explanations I’ve seen on the current state of health care sausage making in the House of Representatives.  Read it at your own risk.

They’re trying to get the 2,000 page health care bill to a vote in the House right now.  The obstacles at the moment are federal funding of abortion and access to health care by illegal immigrants.

The House leadership has decided to permit a Democrat to offer an amendment on the floor that would prohibit any federal funds from being spent on abortion.  Never mind that it’s been against the law for 30 years.  They’ve gotten themselves so twisted around at this point that pro-life lawmakers of both parties fear that taxpayers’ dollars will somehow end up funding abortion, directly or indirectly.

There’s a risk in this.  If the amendment passes, pro-choice members may vote against the bill itself.  If it doesn’t pass, pro-life members may vote against the bill.  The whole process is ridiculous.

As for illegal immigrant access to public option programs, many members want an amendment specifically saying that it’s forbidden.  Many others say, with a wink and a nod, that an amendment isn’t necessary because the bill already includes that prohibition, at least for direct funding.  They haven’t figured out how to deal with that one yet.

I suppose there should also be an amendment that requires the sausage to be made only of beef, with pork banned entirely, lest we offend a handful of Muslims who might bomb the House chamber.  Just kidding….

There’s little doubt that we need to do something to control health care costs and improve access.  Seems we could do a few reasonable things that would help, without a 2,000-page, massively expensive bill full of earmarks.  How about:

  • Permit health insurance companies to operate across state lines.
  • Provide a graduated tax subsidy for people below certain income levels who buy their own health insurance.
  • Forget the Democrats’ idea of levying fines on those who freely decide not to be insured.  At the same time, the uninsured should receive only true emergency care at ERs.
  • Prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, although higher premiums would be allowed.
  • Tax the cost of employer-provided health care as income, which it is.
  • Reform and control medical malpractice lawsuits (preferably as part of overall tort reform).
  • If the costs of Medicare and Medicaid really could be reduced as one way to pay for health care reform, then do it now, regardless of anything else.

I know there are some who would oppose such a simple program of reform, including Democrats, Republicans, libertarians, maybe some independents, and a few Rastafarians.  I didn’t say it would be easy; making sausage never is.

UPDATE:  The House passed their health care bill late today, with 220 votes for and 215 against.  It includes a strong restriction on spending federal funds for abortion.  Only one Republican voted for the bill, and 39 Democrats voted against.  How’s that for bipartisanship?  The AP has a detailed report on the bill.

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2 Responses to “Health Care and Sausage”

  1. CollegeTimes |

    “Sausage makers”… now that might possibly be the best nickname for politicians I’ve ever heard lol.

    In all honestly, I’m glad someone is finally spanking the evil insurance industry. In California, after the 1994 earthquake, many homeowners couldn’t get earthquake insurance due to industry-wide condescension. That is ridiculous.

    Regarding paying for illegals’ insurance, I don’t think that is logical at all, but I think you are right, that they will probably be getting funding somehow no matter what. I mean, they already are, right? Did we forget that.

    Re: keeping pork out of sausage… what!? No pork? In Congress? That is beyond impossible lol.

    And if that disturbs you, check out the menu of what the terror suspects are being fed at Club Guantanamo… while they play ping pong and read Harry Potter, which was translated into Arabic for them by our own US government!

  2. Tom |

    I saw a good political cartoon recently, to the effect that if you want to be well-fed and receive the best medical care (including flu shots that Americans still can’t get), just knock down a few buildings and/or murder a bunch of Americans, shout “Allahu akbar” while you’re doing it, and get sent to Guantanamo.

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