Friday, March 26, 2010

Health Care Reform follow-up

One of the biggest complaints I keep hearing about the recently-passed health care reform bill is that people are being forced to buy something they don't want or can't afford: health insurance.

Well, folks, the government has been forcing me to pay for a war in Iraq I never wanted and can't afford.  I'm paying tax breaks for churches that preach what I believe to be the biggest hoax ever played on humanity. I'm paying subsidies to oil companies which make more profit in a quarter than some countries' entire GDP.  I'm paying for school boards in Texas and other states that makes a mockery of the very concept of education.  I'm paying for a military budget that is more than China's, France's, The UK's, Russia's and the next 10 countries' - combined[0]. I'm paying for upkeep of a nuclear arsenal that could destroy the world 10 times over.  (Why we need to be able to do it more than once I have no idea.)  I'm paying for tax cuts that turned a record surplus into a record deficit and cost twice what the health care bill will.  I'm paying for a war on (some) drugs that has been thoroughly counterproductive and which criminalizes some drugs while glorifying others.  I'm paying for foreign aid to governments who want to kill me.

What's the difference?  I'm paying for those things through my taxes.

Instead the government is going to coerce you into giving money to private industry.  I thought the GOP is fond of privatization and "the free market". 30,000,000+ more people will be paying money to the insurance companies so I suspect their bottom lines will look even better once this bill fully kicks in.  Isn't profit your motive?

How about this?  Rather than push you give money to private, for-profit companies  the government just takes a bit less of your money and uses it to pay for better service and coverage than the private companies will?  Would that be better?

For the record, that would be a single-payer system, akin to Medicare.  Welcome to the socialist party, Comrades.

- Some people are absurdly oblivious


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Absurdly good news

I can't remember the last time I watched CSPAN on a Sunday night.  In fact, I don't think it's ever happened, but I'm sitting here with a huge grin on my face watching Ayes count up towards 215.

The USA has finally joined the rest of the civilized world in (coming very close to) offering health care for all legal residents.  This is far from a perfect bill (I'm a big fan of single-payer, but you knew that) but it's a hell of a lot better than what we have now.

Democrats, I can't believe I'm saying this but, nicely done.  I never thought you would pull it off. Now, get in there and improve it.  Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (all three of which are sacred now) started off far weaker than they are today.  Use that as your model.  Let's see a public option.  Let's see real universal coverage.  Let's unwind the asinine restrictions on abortion.  Let's see this get rolled into immigration reform.

But not tonight.  This moment is for celebrating the hard work put in by millions, not least of whom was Ted Kennedy, who must be smiling down on right now. I propose we nickname this bill "Teddycare" in his honor.  He earned it. You earned it.  We earned it.

Surprisingly the GOP continues to lie about the bill, even minutes after its passage. They claim that abortion coverage is expanded.  It isn't - in fact, today's executive order reduced insurance coverage for what is still a legal medical procedure supported by the majority of Americans. They claim it's socialism.  Anyone who knows the actual definition of actual socialism knows that's bullshit.  They claim it's unconstitutional.  Most scholars I've read (including the President) disagree so I'll trust their judgment over people with an obvious axe to grind. 

Finally, President Obama, I had counted you out, but somehow you herded the cats and pulled it off.  The GOP and TeaOP are in for the shock of their life this November when they wake up November 3rd to find that they still don't have majorities in either the House or Senate.  And tonight is the reason.

- Absurdly happy tonight.

PS: As seen on Twitter: "Hello America! Germany says 'Welcome to 1883!' The UK says 'Welcome to 1911! 'France says 'Welcome to 1930!'"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I have a two and a half year old son and while he does happen to be the cutest, best behaved boy on the planet he's still two and a half so he has his moments of rebellion.  The other night he was procrastinating before bed-time and insisted that he wanted to read books on the living room couch rather than in bed, which is our normal routine.  We told him no so after a few minutes of trying to negotiate with us he started crying and yelling "on the couch" every 5 seconds or so.

He kept this up for over an hour without taking a break.

As we sat in the other room listening to his tantrum I couldn't quite put my finger on what it reminded me of.  The next day while listening to the news it became crystal clear: The GOP's stance on the current health care bill. President Obama and the Democrats have bent over backwards to earn the Republicans' support, including adding more and more Conservative ideas (which liberals find boneheaded and counterproductive) to the bill yet all the GOP can do is stand on their side of the isle and scream "scrap the bill".  The more I thought about it the more perfect the analogy became.  Hell, "scrap the bill" even has the same number of syllables as "on the couch".  The party of Lincoln has devolved (er, I mean been unintelligently created into) a bunch of whining two-year olds with nothing to add to the dialog but visceral anger, threats and fear.

No, I take that back - I went too far.  My son did calm down after an hour.  When we tucked him into bed a few minutes later he said he was sorry and told us he loved us.  Seriously.  (I told you he was the best kid on the planet). 

Two-year olds: I did not mean to insult you so harshly. Please accept my humble apology.

Today's GOP, finding absurd and then digging deeper