Heathcare reform: a Festivus miracle!

Speaking of Festivus, I should note a recent sighting of a genuine Festivus miracle… they still had a quart of Maple View Farms eggnog at the grocery store!

Er, actually, a better Festivus miracle is that today the senate democratic caucus reached the 60 votes needed for their final cloture vote and will vote on healthcare reform tomorrow.  FWIW, the vote could have been held today, but Vitter (R-LA) objected.  The bill also could have been held up until 8pm tomorrow, but republicans couldn’t quite bring themselves to wait that long to get out of town.  So instead, the vote (needing only 50 ayes plus Biden) will happen at 7am tomorrow morning.

A quick note on the bill.  Put me in the camp with folks who wanted something better, but regard the senate bill as a significant step forward.  Specifically, I would love to see something like a single payer system.  People seem pretty happy with Medicare (wasn’t a common teabagger cry: “keep the government out of my Medicare!”?), so gradually expanding Medicare eligibility to younger people, eventually allowing a person of any age to buy into Medicare seems like a good idea.   We would still need to fix the republican Medicare Part D prohibition on negotiation with drug companies, but that’s minor.

Failing single payer, what I really would like to see are controls on how hard the insurance companies can screw you (currently hard enough to make you want to scream “green balloons“), and then provide subsidies to allow more people to buy insurance.  Well, that’s what we got.  Sure, there’s a purchasing mandate – you must buy insurance, but that’s pretty reasonable.

So, it’s not a perfect bill, but it’s a good start and will help literally millions of people and will literally save tens of thousands of lives each year.  That’s a good first step.  There’s nothing that says that we can’t improve the bill over the next decade.  That’s what has happened with every other expansion of the social safety net for the past 60+ years, from social security to medicare.  There is no progressive rapture.  We won’t pass a bill and then be taken up to liberal heaven or achieve social nirvana.  There aren’t 72 hippie virgins waiting for us at the signing of any piece of legislation.  And neither mankind nor its societies are perfectible.  But both mankind and society is subject to continuous improvement.  We can make things better and this bill is another step in that process.

3 Comments

  1. etselec said,

    December 28, 2009 @ 10:40 pm

    Isn’t “hippie virgin” a contradiction in terms?

  2. cec said,

    December 29, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

    big time… just seeing if anyone is paying attention 🙂

  3. Alkahest » Blog Archive » Holy crap… yes we did! said,

    March 22, 2010 @ 9:33 am

    […] three months ago to the day, I wrote about the senate health care reform (HCR) bill, how they had achieved cloture and would vote on Christmas eve.  Since December, things […]

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