Thursday, November 5, 2009

GOP Releases Unrealistic, Unpassable Health Care Bill

WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 09:  Senate Minority Le...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The New York Times (or, as witty wordsmith Mark Levine would call them, The New York Slimes) has an article out regarding the alternative Health Care bill the Republicans have finally released after almost a year of claiming that they could do better.

Short story: they really can't.

Heralding the slim volume's 230 page count as a testament to the Bill's simplicity, one could be forgiven for assuming that the pages contained nothing more than the phrase "Same Shit, Different Day" typed over and over again. While it isn't quite that bad, the result is almost the same.

The first thing that really jumps out is how the GOP rarely manages not to contradict themselves these days. For instance, Republicans have been stomping around claiming that the Democrats obsessing on 36 Million uninsured people was a waste of time considering what a small percentage of the population. Not content on merely contradicting themselves when they claimed that insuring this inconsequential percentage would in turn bankrupt the country, they have turned around and proposed a bill that would only insure 2 Million Americans, which apparently isn't too small for them to worry about.

Smugly waving around their response to the resounding criticism that the GOP was criticizing something without offering their own suggestions, John Boehner (pronounced Boner) and others proudly declared that the Republican plan increases incentives for people to use health savings accounts, caps non-economic jury awards in medical malpractice cases at $250,000, provides various incentives to states with the aim of driving down premium costs and allows health insurance to be sold across state lines.

Let me break that down for you:

1. Increase incentives for Health Savings Accounts: Give the banks more money to play with, and still be unprepared for a major health emergency, but at CD rates.

2. Cap non-economic jury awards in medical malpractice cases: You can sue the doctor that maliciously botched your son's operation for the cost of the hospital stay, but your pain and suffering from his death is only worth a quarter million, tops. This is a good thing, however, as it makes providing inferior and potential lethal medical care less of a burden on the hospital's shareholders.

3. Provide incentives to drive down premium costs: Make medical insurance mandatory, then fine poor people for not buying into it.

4. Allow health insurance to be sold across state lines: Deregulation. Works every time. Right?

My favorite part of the article, however, is this insanely humorous little nugget:

House Republicans, including their leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, have said that they did not intend for their legislation to expand insurance coverage, because they viewed that goal as unaffordable. Instead, they said the bill was tailored narrowly to reduce costs. According to the report by nonpartisan budget office, the Republican bill would reduce future federal deficits by $68 billion over 10 years, compared to a reduction of $104 billion by the House Democrats’ legislation.

So, expanding health care (the whole idea of creating a new Health Care Bill, by the way) was deemed to expensive, so the concentrated on cutting costs, the end result being that they still somehow managed to reduce the deficit 36 Billion less than the "unaffordable" Democratic bill.

Honestly, who could possibly argue with logic like that?

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