The problem with using the Government Hammer to pound down every lingering social or civic problem is that sometimes it is actually the head of a screw sticking up and requires different tools than are currently being offered by the democratic Congress as a way of finally snugging that sucker tight to the deck.
I am not opposed to much of regulatory changes that made it through the House last weekend, most of them revenue neutral for Uncle Sam and long-overdue given the current state of our health care system. However, If the democratic leadership had followed the lead of Olympia Snowe and the Blue Dogs, as the president seemed to prefer all along, this landmark legislation would have already been signed into law. As it is, the “public option” just might be the hammer that breaks the head off the health reform screw in Conference Committee. Assuming it makes it out of the Senate with a huge new beauracry as the price of reform.
Which brings me to the main thesis of this blog: Why can’t we fix the government we have rather than adding billions (trillions long-term) in new spending that will end up in the same unaccountable blackhole every other federal (and state and local) dollar disappears into as soon as it is approved by Congress?
We have numerous “public options” already available to many Americans and they barely function as is. The Medicare/Medicaid system is getting sicker and broker by the day, adding mostly ignored stress to the entire medical system. You can’t negotiate bargain rates and then only pay 80% of the charges without someone else getting screwed down the line. Even the VA and Tri-Care and beginning to experience many of the same issues their private counterparts are facing in paying for the level of care their clients expect, cutting services as need to balance the books.
As long as Americans keep eating the way we do and living the sendentiary life-styles we do, the rising cost of health care will remain beyond our ability to pay for it.
The problem is so much bigger than creating yet another unaccountable government boondoggle rather than fixing the programs we already spend billions on with very little true return on that investment. Much of the criticism I hear from the center and moderate right isn’t that we should ensure deny anyone access to medical care or that we shouldn’t fix inequities in the system. It is that creating another government program to fix something of this magnitude makes little sense given the government’s long history of failure in just about every endeavor they take on. A psychopathic government is not my number one choice in health care provider no matter who is in charge of it.
About the only thing Uncle Sam is really good at is killing people.