Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Allow me to rain on the health care parade

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will solve our country’s health care problems inasmuch as throwing money at problems solves problems. It is “historic” in the sense that it does more to make health care better than any legislation in the past four decades.

But it is essentially a quick fix that will have little effect on the encroaching cost of living that is slowly consuming the working and middle class.

The bill does not establish universal health care. An estimated 24 million will still be uninsured in 2019. The bill will not significantly lower premiums for families. The excise tax may force some companies who already give their employees decent packages to switch to less generous plans.

It goes on and on about staying insurance companies from dropping people when they get sick, but it establishes no regulatory body to do so. And in ten years, we will still be spending upwards of 20 percent of our GDP on health care.

If you want to help poor people get insurance, then change the industry. Don’t just offer to pay for part of it. That’s how unsustainable programs like Medicare Part D come to be. Congress should be regulating the oncoming train wreck that is private insurance, not finding them new venues in which to give them government cheese.

Another indicator this bill is a lap dance for Big Insurance is the fact they have a whole new customer base, because now millions of Americans will be forced to buy health insurance. It’s funny how so many provisions were tossed because they seemed too radical, but this one, which affects so many struggling people, stayed. The mandate is immoral.

This is one place where I agree with all the constitutional constructionists and conservatives. You can’t force people to buy insurance. I am against laws that restrict abortion, responsible drug use and “sodomy” because I recognize that, in most cases, people can make calls about their own personal health better than institutions.

And if a healthy 22-year-old for whom money is tight wants to roll the dice and go without insurance for a year and risk having to pay for something out of pocket, we shouldn’t lecture them. Especially when what we offer them sucks.

We can’t simultaneously moan about how health care in this country is such an insurance-centric stupid game and then deny someone’s right to be a conscientious objector to the stupid game.

If only there were some way we could have used the principles of the free market to ensure that competition would result in lower rates – an alternative to the private monopolies. A “public” “option,” if you will.

And though they should receive credit for using this bill to put a noticeable dent in the federal deficit, Democrats threw away several opportunities to promote long-term debt reduction: Laws that would make cheaper generics easier to manufacture (never developed), the option if importing drugs from Canada (pawned off by Obama), and giving Congress the power to negotiate drug prices (which mysteriously never gets talked about).

This is a good bill, but this is not a revolutionary bill. It’s not a people’s bill. It’s been a long, melodramatic road, but the results should have been predictable from the beginning.

As always, “change” only occurs in this country at the time and to the degree which the white guys in the corner offices say it will. Go to some time and check out how much money each Democrat gets from the insurance industry. They are not the kind of stuff that progress is made of.

If you think they are just because Obama keeps talking about “progress” — that is, if you think the semblance of progress in glib speeches connotes progress — then you’re probably the kind of person who thinks they can lose weight and stay healthy on the Taco Bell diet.

Josh Veazey is a senior majoring in telecommunication and film. His column runs on Wednesdays.

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