health care costs

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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10 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    Yeah you and Mark have been getting a lot of heat which you don’t deserve. You are both being thoughtful and honest and basing your arguments on the political ideas you believe in. that does not change the political facts that republicans and conservatives have been resisting health care reform for many years. Many of us still have sour memories of 1994 when vicious, sleazy attacks helped to kill reform. Now it is 2009 and angry mobs are being whipped up, Dem pols being hung in effigy and comparing liberals/democrats to nazi’s who want to personally kill your grandmother is so common place it is ordinary. That is the subtext to a lot of conversations: anger, lack of trust in most conservatives and a stark political reality.

    I don’t have time, I am at work, to completely defend HR3200. But the thing is, I don’t think any reformer thinks it is a great bill, just the best we can get through. Even though it is luke warm reform it may not make it. I have begun to wonder if America can actually have much of a functioning government since the entrenched interests are so powerful trying to fix big problems seems impossible. Without the relative cooperation of all the big players in health reform, tragically, we will get nothing. If we can get something like HR3200 then we are on the road to reform. If enough people get helped then that will keep building towards improving the system. When the d-bags who are locking and loading at the fear of HR3200 see it happen, some but not most I am sure, will chill out. Either that or O’s machete wielding grandma killers will scare most of them underground.

    So the best things about HR3200 are the various rules that will be eliminate the worst abuses of the insurance industry and a strong public option. I just do not see the political acceptance among the population to cut the tie between work and health care, even though I agree it is a bad idea.Report

  2. Ryan says:

    Right, I don’t actually necessarily *believe* that HR 3200 is a better bill than Wyden-Bennett (nor does the liberal punditocracy’s chief health care voice, Mr. Klein). But I believe HR 3200 is a realistic bill and Wyden-Bennett isn’t. I am willing to let the good be the enemy of the perfect, as it were, because I think the most important goal is to get as many people covered as possible. HR 3200 is a meaningful step in that direction, and Wyden-Bennett is simply not ever going to be passed.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Ryan says:

      But why? Wyden-Bennett seems to have more support across the board – why is it the pipedream and not HR3200?Report

      • Ryan in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Because that support isn’t real. I know Mark doesn’t believe us (or Ezra, or Matt, or anyone), but it’s very, very easy for Republicans to claim to support something they’ll never have to vote on. If it came to the floor, and NRO and Heritage and Rush and Mitch McConnell had to take a stand, I know what that stand would be. As has been pointed out, Judd Gregg is one of the cosponsors, and he doesn’t actually even support the particulars of the bill. He just wants his name in the conversation so it looks like he’s doing something.

        You can even toss in labor unions from the left, if you want to play the “unions are evil” card.Report

  3. greginak says:

    Reforming health care is obviously a massively complex task. Part of what Obama has been doing is placating the various parts of the health care industry to go along with what congress has been working on. I don’t see how it is possible to just stop and say “ sorry all those things we agreed on, forget about them.” Part of the process has been schmoozing the stakeholders. Trying to switch to the Wyden bill would throw all that in the hamper. Also the various committees have actually been doing a lot of work on how to make HR3200 work. Any health care reform has so many moving parts it can’t just be quickly changed or reform switched to a different tack. I don’t mean that in a cynical way either. Reforming health care, in any plan, is like driving a supertanker. Any bill is going to be huge because health care is complex. Trying to work Wyden would mean having each committee go back through all the work and remake all the possible compromises, calculations, estimates and so forth. And it does not seem possible to have two major bills working through congress. That would leave a zillion avenues for opponents to bad faith bargain with the proponents and split support.Report

  4. greginak says:

    Oh, color me not impressed by Judd Gregg’s support of the Wyden bill. He bailed on joaing the O admin with the standard “gov is evil big scary , we are heading towards socialism” schmutz. He is opposed to many features of the W bill.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to greginak says:

      That’s the thing about compromise in legislation. There will be opposition from both sides, and yet agreement as well. Give and take. That’s the point. Lots of lib-dems who would find plenty to oppose as well, but that’s to be expected.Report

      • Ryan in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        I believe you believe that. But I don’t think Republicans are the least bit interested in compromise. I think they’re interested in delay, obstruction, and defeating reform. From a purely partisan standpoint, that’s probably even the right choice.Report

      • greginak in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        True. But to say there is honest bipartisan support when some of the people who have signed on don’t agree with major parts of bill seems weak. Any bill needs people to fight for it and push it. If the R signers start from a position of not supporting parts of the bill then they don’t seem like credible proponents of the bill who will push it.

        And while many of us agree about the need to separate employment from insurance, it seems to scare the poo out of many people. I don’t see how to overcome that fear at this time.Report

      • greginak in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        To be fairish to the R’s who have signed on to the Wyden bill or who say they want reform, I think they need to significantly ramp up their commitment. Lets see Judd Gregg or some of the others say in public they not only want reform but also renounce the fear mongering on the right. Renounce those in their party who have openly said they want health care to be Obama’s Waterloo. Commit to universal coverage and ending the abuses of the insurance industry. Lets see them really stick their necks out against their party. Lets see them really put themselves on the line. Until they do then I have a hard time taking them all that seriously.Report