The U.S. Healthcare Bill

The U.S. Healthcare Bill will pass later today.   I have been giving the advice to friends for  a couple of weeks or so that this was now inevitable.

Skipping all of the drummed – up rhetoric about the bill, there are a few thoughts about it and this process that seemed worth sharing:

1. The U.S. will not become a socialist or communist country after its passage.  We will, on the other hand, stop being the ONLY developed nation in the world that does not offer a healthcare plan to all of its citizens. 

2. For virtually ALL citizens currently enrolled in the healthcare system, they will see ZERO change.  Think about all of the anger, fear and money spent on this, for this result.

3.  Two changes that matter, which WILL occur: the uninsured will become insured, if they are legal citizens (illegals are not covered, contrary to Fox Not News); and, neither can insurers block you if you have a pre-existing condition, nor can they dump you once you get sick and actually need their help.

4. This new bill will make more money than ever for the insurance industry, in the short term.

5. This bill represents a minium structure on which real cost cutting can, in the future, be performed.  One of the great mental lapses (or logic failures) in this discussion, has been the opposition’s insistence that they want to cut costs, without understanding that cost cutting requires a system in place that can stand up to the largest cost multipliers, the insurance companies.  The latter explains why:

a. The insurance companies spent billions of dollars to fight this bill even though, as noted,

b. They will make a lot of money in the short run as headcount goes up.

Finally, it is worth mentioning this whole process as a case text on what can be done with too much money.  If there has ever been a living argument against lobbyists being allowed to spend money on representatives, the year of healthcare spending has been it.  Estimates of $1M per person are, in my opinion, WAY too low, and I expect the final lobbying expense total against this bill will be in the $2-3B range.

What did this money buy?  A lot of fear.  Fear coming from every direction.  Threats, anger, outrage, more anger, lots more fear, and lies all day every day on Fox Not News.  (Did you know that Illegal Immigrants will be covered, and you will have to pay for them?  That’s what Fox News said.)

The refusal, I suspect, of any Republicans to vote for the bill, will have the opposite effect that they are dreaming about.  Rather than getting them a landslide midterm election, they will increasingly be properly understood as the Party of No, regardless of subject.

(To be fair, this week several Republicans broke ranks to vote for a small jobs bill.)

As time follows the passage of this bill, Americans will quickly realize that they have the same care, the same doctor, the same plan, and the same costs that they had before.  Two months later, the general feeling, despite continued (no doubt) lies and money spent trying to continue whipping up a furor of outrage and anger, will be: “so what?”

One wonders, is there a stage at which the victims wake up and realize they are being manipulated by those making the big bucks?  This is no doubt the greatest challenge and fear that the broken party GOP deals with today: how do we represent the elites and the very rich, while continuing to suck votes out of the south, which tends to be poor, and was all Democrat until the end of the sixties?

It’s a tough act, and without constant spending on anger-making machinery, could easily fall completely apart, as the manipulated take stock and figure out that their economic masters are driving them and their families into the ruin they so long feared from the “other side.”

Maybe getting back into the healthcare system will do the trick.