Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Public health care reader (post-Obamacare vote edition)

  • This CNN piece talks about where they money will come from to pay for all this.
  • Writing in Politics Daily, Jill Lawrence says the Republicans are taking a big risk in running against Obamacare in November (and in 2012) now that it has passed, because the actual bill cannot live up to the doomsday depiction that they warned about before passage. 
  • Not much cost to hospitals and drugmakers, though, who will seen a boon thanks to the bill: more customers for the drug companies, and more patients — including patients who can pay — for the hospitals. (A lot fewer freeloaders is good for the bottom line, and probably good for quality of care.)
  • Dick Morris, writing before the passage, explains why the Democrats are doomed if Obamacare passes. (Frankly, I never really got why the right is so enamored of this guy. He's an ethics-less turncoat who has been on a decade-and-a-half temper tantrum over having been canned for sexual indiscretions while in the White House.) 
  • The Wall Street Journal says that the passage of the bill is a "profound and historic mistake" on the order of the Smoot-Hawley tariff. The Orange County Register says this is a bad prognosis for freedom.
  • George Will calls this a victory for Obama's "agenda of spreading dependency." (Another thing that gets me about some pundits is how little they really get it. A wealthy author like George Will can afford whatever health insurance he might need, and perhaps even whatever health care he might need even without health insurance, which means he really does not get the need for health care subsidies by those not in his financial position, nor the pain they feel when healthcare costs keep rising the way they do. Trying to resolve that is not creating dependency, and certainly it is nothing like, say, welfare payments that are higher than minimum-wage jobs. It is simply freeing people from the harrowing experience of bankruptcy at one's doorstep. Really, are the super-rich who have tried to scare-monger the public so far removed from the fears and anxieties of the workaday public that they really don't see the value and compassion in this particular kind of bill?)
  • Representative Barney Frank rips into the "dozens of Republicans" who egged on a tea-party protester in the chamber "who was disrupting the proceedings and resisting court officers." Meanwhile, House Republicans denounced the racial slurs and homophobic epithets hurled at Democratic lawmakers (including Frank, who is gay) who support Obamacare.
  • The newly passed healthcare bill includes an optional long-term care insurance called CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports). Japan and other graying societies are experimenting with this as well, so we'll have to see how it goes; I wonder if it isn't better to lump it with regular insurance and have everyone pay a little more in order to have it. This would expand the pool of insured to avoid having just those that are more likely to feel they need it; such people are often right (based on information they know but don't share with the insurers) and they end up costing the insurers more money. 
  • I spent much of the afternoon (Hawaii is six hours behind Washington DC, closer to Korea, in fact) following updates on the RealClearPolitics Health Care Liveblog. Funny how they put a space in healthcare but not in liveblog. They provide a House link to the ayes and noes for the bill.
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