Monday, November 23, 2009

Pass the bill, fix it later; stop the Republicans

Here's how I think the Senate healthcare bill will play out. Reid will compromise with Olympia Snowe and substitute her "trigger" proposal for his "states opt out" proposal. There may also be a "states opt in" proposal.

I think that Democrats will also have to adopt an anti-abortion provision similar to the odious House plan. Although I have some sympathy for the position that "elective" abortions are immoral, I agree with Barney Frank that most of the hardcore "right to lifers" believe that life starts a conception and ends at birth. They are quite willing to sacrifice the health and well being of millions in order not so much to prevent abortions as to make them back-breakingly expensive for poor people. Since a lot of these religious conservatives oppose contraception for unmarried couples, and some (Catholic bishops) oppose all contraception, the net result seems to be a really unpleasant anti-human position for which I have no sympathy. Unfortunately, folks who really care about the well-being of other people can't seem to garner the votes necessary to pass reasonable legislation. That's just the reality.

As I've said before, it is unlikely that the Dems will get another chance at healthcare reform for a long time, since they will probably lose seats next election. Any kind of healthcare they can pass now -- even a pretty flawed bill -- can be amended later, as was Social Security (which was always actually pretty good) and Medicare. Furthermore, defeating healthcare will do damage to Obama politically and help the Republicans. Although many have already forgotten, Republicans can do terrible damage to this country, as we have seen from the mess that Bush and his Republican rubber-stamp Congress left us. This is not in the realm of opinion: it is historical fact. The Dems lost control of Congress already under Clinton, and everything since is pure Republican.

One other thing: Social Security and Medicare withholding should be uncapped for all incomes above say $200,000. I would say all incomes but the number $200,000 seems to be bandied about since Obama promised not to raise taxes on the "middle class."

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