I woke this last Monday of the year in what can only be described as Dante’s ninth concentric circle of hell – Orlando, Fl. Having been duped by the my children’s love for the big whale (Shamu, not their father) I ventured into this vortex, surrounded by Europeans and Far easterners all with duffel bags full of clothes that are cheap as can be due to a weak dollar, in the vain hope of some time away from politics and the machinations of the White House and it’s lame ducks.
Instead I got up, opened the door to my McRoom, and grabbed me some McNews. I hate USA Today and what it represents, but when it is literally free on your doorstep even I will peruse it. Keep in mind, I am no newspaper snob; I loathe McNews for it’s “dumbed down” writing style contrasted against it’s attempt to BE sophisticated. It’s like the tabloids adopting the airs and pretensions of the NYT – to quote the President, “you can put lipstick on a pig…”
Even knowing this, I opened up the so called “op-Ed” page, full of such insights as “we should listen to President Carter” and “middle east peace will take time.” And there it was, the pseudo crafty attempt to make the the GOP look rash – a cartoon of an Elephant struggling with a huge wrapped gift at the returns window, with a tag on which was written “healthcare law.” The wise man at the counter says “maybe you want to open it first?”
The immediate thought that ran through my head was “I bet that is what Pandora thought too.”
For the non-nerdy (sadly in my youth I actually had a Greek mythology “phase”), Pandora is not a music app — she was , in shorthand, a woman entrusted with a box (really a sealed clay jar) and instructed by Zeus himself never to open it under any circumstances. She could not overcome her curiosity and did, unleashing all of the evils upon humanity the Gods had captured.
In many ways, letting Obamacare take effect will be a similar disaster. The bill was what we would call a camel, referring to a horse built by committee. The extra parts make the hump – and in this case destroy even the modest advantages claimed by the bill (after all, can we really be sure? The President used to say it would cost us nothing, now he says we always knew covering 30 million more people would cost more). The inescapable fact is that this is a bad deal for the tens of millions of people who have insurance and like it the way it is.
And you don’t need to take my word for it – ask the United Federation of Teachers, who got the single largest waiver from the coverage requirements. This New York teachers union was a huge supporter of Obamacare – yet used it’s pull to get a waiver so they could, according to its president, “determine the impact of the law on our health care costs.” This is too surreal to be true: a major proponent of a new healthcare bill, who claimed it would be cost neutral at first and a cost savings eventually needs time to determine if he was being honest with his members or America; I wish we all had the luxury to do so.
Or you could ask SEIU 1199 members in New York whether they think its a good deal. These are the same Union members who found out that they would be losing dependant care because the plan could not afford the 26 year old dependant coverage mandate — meaning that they would no longer have coverage for their minor children so that echo boomers can live off mom and dad’s coverage for a full third of their life expectancy. This is no small capitulation; these were rabid supporters of Obamacare and now they are proving the point the rest of us were trying to make at the time.
Only the most committed (or people who SHOULD be committed) will tell you this was a good bill. The truth that more than 65% of us know is that this is a deeply flawed bill. It’s passage was rushed using every trick that exists in the Penumbras of Robert’s rules of order and in the shadows of congressional lore. It contained provisions and boondoggles that, frankly, we will not know about until we “open it first.” And it is going to make the current $13 trillion debt look like a pittance — if it is ever successfully implemented and funded.
So with all due respect to McNews, no thanks – I don’t need to open it first. The people who made the present, wrapped it, and put it under my tree have told me all I need to know.
(Want to know more about the positive side of health care reform than follow Rock The Capital to this side of the issue.)
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