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The Democrats' Romneycare

By Al Schumann on Wednesday October 17, 2007 11:58 AM

You can have any kind of healthcare program you want from the Democrats, provided it's Romneycare, which itself owes a debt to the cynical and aptly named COBRA.

From Wikipedia:

COBRA does not, unlike other federal statutes such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), require the employer to pay for the cost of providing continuation coverage; instead it allows employees and their dependents to maintain coverage at their own expense by paying the full cost of the premium the employer previously paid, plus up to a 2% administrative charge (150% for the disability extension). Employees and dependents can also opt for a lesser form of coverage, e.g., to choose continuation coverage under a plan that only covers the employee, but not his or her dependents, or that only provides medical and hospitalization coverage and does not pay for dental work, if those options are available to covered employees. Employees and dependents lose coverage if they fail to make timely payments of these premiums. Employers are required to inform employees and dependents upon loss of coverage, in writing, by at least fifteen days before the coverage ceases.

I picked that for the smug wording, not for accuracy. It doesn't take any close reading to spot the problems with "allowing" people to take on the full weight of their misfortunes, plus the necessary incentivizing penalty surchages, or with easing the responsibilities of the people who play a major role in causing the misfortunes in the first place. It's welfare queen heaven. The premise is that good people are never reckless enough to lose their jobs. They take personal responsibility! People who get sick in order to weasel out of examining the character flaws that cost them jobs are bad people, and they should pay for it.

The ideology of Romneycare is that health insurance is available, but people are often too stupid and feckless to acquire it and insurers need more help in providing it. They all need a push. Cost containment will come from the miracle of consumer choice and magically removing the structural impediments that inflict insurers. Presumably people will plan their cancers and heart attacks accordingly.

The latest version of Hillarycare will pay for health care by

"removing hidden taxes, stressing prevention and a focus on efficiency and modernization, the plan will improve quality and lower costs."
Those feckless and stupid slackers who cost us all money, and who get sick in spite of all the focus,
"will be required to get and keep insurance in a system where insurance is affordable and accessible."
It's magic! They'll be allowed, at long last, to pursue a chance to get on the path to earn the opportunity to have a health care plan that looks something like the one she has, which we pay for. Obamacare will allow people to
"receive an income-related federal subsidy to buy into the new public plan or purchase a private health care plan."
The subsidy will go their insurers, in order to cut out the middleman. There will be lots of computers to ensure efficiency and transparency. Individuals and families will have a chance to to understand that
"the way Americans live, eat, work, and play have real implications for their health and wellness. The Obama health plan will require coverage of essential clinical preventive services such as cancer screenings and smoking cessation programs in all federally supported health plans."
They'll also have a mandatory chance to pay for those things. Good Haircare believes that
"all parts of our society must share responsibility. Edwards will make a historic effort to make insurance affordable and easy to obtain through new regional Health Care Markets, tax credits, and expanded Medicaid and children's health insurance programs. In return, employers must contribute their fair share and individuals must take responsibility for themselves and their families by signing up for an affordable plan."
The feckless and stupid have never had it so good. All this opportunity. . . What I find most remarkable is that they're less enlightened than Henry Ford and less generous than Otto von Bismarck. If people are going to pay for all these baroque, magical fixes for health care, they ought to be able to afford it. But even if they could pay, it does nothing to contain costs at the 'point of sale'; without that any plan is going founder. If their jobs half kill them, they still need means to keep existing.

It's not as though there's no support for a real plan. It's got a 2/3 majority. Employer-based plans are foundering. The big automakers are begging for federal relief and forcing their employees into taking on all the costs themselves. Pooled risk is easy to understand. The loss of "competitiveness" caused by skyrocketing health costs has even been noticed by the CFR. The dimmest lights in the technocratic cosmos understand. So why don't the Democrats?

Comments (10)


It's rather impressive to what extent the Democrats will go to avoid a single-payer system. When I look at their plans, I pretty much see piles and piles of paperwork and red tape and headaches, in addition to the similar stuff produced by the private insurers. Their answer to the American health care non-system being a hideous, knotted mess of confusing, predatory bullshit is to lacquer on a lot more hideous, knotted, confusing, predatory bullshit.

I've gotten in fairly heated arguments over this. The opposing side is usually that some solution is better than no solution. My response is that a terrible, broken system is worse than no system at all. It won't work, and it'll stifle any actual solution for, probably, the rest of our lives.

When I look at their plans, I pretty much see piles and piles of paperwork and red tape and headaches, in addition to the similar stuff produced by the private insurers.

Yeah, me too. They're scared to death of losing control and can't pass up the chance to create more opportunities to exercise it. It's like they all attended the same better living through misanthropic micro-management program.


Is Romneycare the name for what we have in Massachusetts?

What I know about the Mass. system is the following: my father shakes his fist and calls it "socialized medicine," and is angry because the fact that everyone has to be insured supposedly drives the premiums up; yet with everyone buying and it being more expensive, it's actually much more profitable for the insurance companies. It seems to be just another form of corporatism.


Yes, it is and you're right that's another form of corporatism. In theory, putting everyone in a risk pool should drive premiums down and the monopsony purchasing power of the pool should affect medical fees. But fragmented pools only herd people into easy extraction groupings and negate any influence they might wield through consumer choice.


watching corporate amerika
find its way to single payer
is like watching a drunk
trying to unlock his front door
at three in the morning


i can't get into health-o -nomics folks

attack trained economist though i be ...

and yet it gripes me
this interum rip
bipartisan as the GWOT
and nothing but
a no quid pro quo tax
on the young and healthy

why ain't it called out
into the street for a rumble ???


as an old man
i give a flyin fuck eh ???

but my daughter is part
of the soon to be dragooned

if the fuck balls
were serious here
they'd do the cost control part first

to be bad about it

real baddddddd

the present Rx gaggle
are much like
the undoc amnesty plan
cooked up by corporate amerika

look it straight in the eye and you can tell
the board rooms ain't serious about
putting a migra clamp in place
or they'd stop the zillion cross overs first


in fact corporate amerika
prolly wants to collect health premia from undocs

then use raids to keep em out of
public facilities

while leaving their jobplace off bounds
to raiding ice men
except to bust a strike or two


scrugglink back up data :

"Support for change is based largely on
unease with the current system's costs"

"unease with the current system's costs"

"unease with the current system's costs"

"unease with the current system's costs "

"unease with the current system's costs "


I suppose that depends on how you define costs. If you're young and healthy AND dragooned into the sucker portion of a risk pool, then the definition might sound something like "you evil motherfuckers".

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