16 September 2009

Amoral healthcare reform bordering on immorality

This article from today's Post pisses me off in about 14,000 different ways. And, as many of you know, I'm not a morning person. The issue here is mandated coverage, particularly for young adults (like me).

As has been known for some time, the plans progressing through the idiot Congress mandate that everyone has healthcare. Excellent. Good idea. It's both true and necessary.

However, since the public option has been scrapped in the name of political expediency and Rush the Addict Limbaugh, this comes down to an unfunded mandate to the taxpayer.

Anybody other than me notice that unemployment is up and incomes are down lately? No? Have you read a newspaper/blog or heard a radio or seen a TV? No? Then you have no business writing or voting on legislation. Now isn't the time for an unfunded mandate to anybody.

Since I try to avoid national domestic issues like the plague on our houses that they are, I don't have any data available that I can readily cite. What I do know is this: more of my friends are unemployed than there used to be. Many of those that are employed scrape buy. If my job didn't provide insurance, I, like many, simply wouldn't have it. A mandate from Congress will not change that reality. And yes, it's great that the Medicaid cap on income would go up to about $14,000 a year. But what about the multitudes that make more than that (even by a few dollars), but don't have access to employer supplemented insurance?

Say you live in DC and make $20,000 per year, and you don't have a car, so living outside the city isn't much of an option. Rent and utilities will likely eat up at least half, if not more, of that income. If you ate cheaply, you could maybe get by on $100 per month, if you have no dependents. Factor in another few hundred in bus fare, etc. Everyone needs to buy clothes periodically, but assume you rely on thrift stores. That all would come to roughly $15,000 of the 20. Now, where exactly will the $200/month for a baseline government mandated insurance plan come from? Yeah, you could do it, but you could save virtually nothing and your budget would have to be planned to the penny, and you couldn't survive any contingencies (say, a month being unemployed). Even a college graduate making roughly $32,000 per year, but say carrying $20,000 in debt, is going to find it phenomenally challenging to buy insurance, regardless of the cost. A tax break is a nice idea, but those usually come once a year, and after a purchase has been made. Where does the cash come from in the meantime?

My social security deduction already goes straight from my payroll to my grandparents, after a quick stopover at the Treasury. That's fine with me, as I like my grandparents. But to force young people to buy insurance to keep insurance companies' costs down as they pay for my parents' coverage isn't really ethical. If I had wanted to pitch in on the repair costs for my stepfather's recent broken ankle, I could've done that on my own.

Without a public option, any healthcare reform bill is immoral, particularly if it shoulders more of the costs onto people with the least means. How about we cut the disgustingly high salaries of healthcare execs, or something more socially equitable? The people that claim a public option would fund abortions or provide free healthcare to illegal immigrants (heaven forfend!) or haul my grandmother out and shoot her (I defy anyone to even try that -- you'll lose) need to shut the hell up. And I've yet to buy the argument that reform is somehow unconstitutional. But the plans as they're taking shape are immoral, and for a looney lefty like me, that's entirely unacceptable.

EDIT: Had I read to the bottom of the Post's daily email before sending my blood pressure through the roof, I would have discovered that at least one senator's views comport well with my own. All we need are 99 more.

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