For the benefit of younger readers: Back in the old days before cell phones, there were pagers. And before that, there was the overhead paging system. Not that many years ago, it was normal to hear things like “Dr. Jones to 4B nursing station, please” on the hospital public address system.
Ok. It’s law now. It looks like the health insurance reform bill that got passed and signed into law was neither as bad as it could be nor as good as it should be. There’s some benefits, and some stuff that’s absolutely odious. However, it is only a first step. At least two crucial things are missing.
First and probably most important is a non-profit health insurance option. The law, as it stands, requires us to all buy health insurance by 2014, which forces us to do business with the very same companies that got us into this mess. The best answer to this problem by far is Alan Grayson’s Medicare-For-Anybody bill, which has 80 co-sponsors so far (click here to sign the petition to demand a vote!). Howard Dean has even endorsed Rep. Grayson at least partly as a result. You remember Howard? The doctor who became a Governor and managed to get health insurance for almost every kid in his state despite the fact that they don’t vote? This bill is revenue neutral for the Government — it won’t raise the deficit a cent because it says the premiums will be set at what it costs to provide the insurance. Bringing this thing to a vote puts the opposition in a tough spot: if Medicare is good enough for Grandma, why isn’t it good enough for me?
The other thing it needs is a program I like to call MediKids. Regular readers have heard me beat this drum before, but we have a system where most health insurance is purchased by employers. And most kids don’t have employers. The existence of an automatic enrollment health insurance program for kids under 18 (and in my ideal dream world, any full time student under 25) would help almost every family in America. It would of course have a disproportionate effect on low income families that are likely to have inadequate insurance for themselves and their kids, if they have insurance at all. Moreover, by keeping our kids healthy, it would improve schools and the quality of our future workforce. Even if there were a modest premium associated with the program like there is for Vermont’s Dr. Dynasaur program, it would be worthwhile.
In Closing: Why aren’t you in school, you lazy bastards?; stupid banker tricks; three times more Chapter 7 than Chapter 13 bankruptcies; air worship is like air guitar for shrine visits (maybe the Catholics could try this? Then it doesn’t matter if the priest is a pedophile); as fast as financial reform made it through committee, I must wonder what political favors are embedded in it; and let Mr. Otis get you high. I mean, like to the 20th floor.