You must either give netzapper $100, or give mathowie $200.
March 28, 2010 7:11 PM Subscribe
I'm deeply confused. Other than in a strictly juvenile, we-won-you-lost sense, why and how is the recent US health reform legislation considered a success?
posted by Netzapper to Law & Government (50 answers total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
I understand that some good stuff is in the bill: no more preexisting conditions (for kids only?), lifetime payout caps, or drop-you-when-you-get-cancer. But it seems like ending these predatory insurance practices could have been achieved with a 15-page bill instead of the multi-hundred-page byzantine mess that was passed.
But the real thing I can't wrap my head around is the plan on insuring more people. The way I understand it is this: it is incumbent on you to procure health insurance (either through your employer, or by purchasing it yourself); if you do not procure insurance, you will be federally taxed at a punitive rate. If you cannot afford insurance, the government will financially assist you. I understand that this is legal, since it's built like a tax incentive, not like a mandate.
But why is this considered acceptable? If congress passed a law mandating that every citizen purchase a gross of oranges a month or face punitive taxes, we'd all consider that ridiculous and invasive. But the Democrats on the news keep talking about having secured us a new right; from here it looks like they've saddled us with another burden. I mean, the health reform mandate is not like car insurance, where you can choose not to operate a vehicle.
Meanwhile, what about people who can't afford it? I understand that for people who "can't afford" it, there will be financial assistance. But, what about the people who make $100 too much a year? There are lots of edge cases with existing needs-based assistance programs that leave people paying more than they can really afford, despite the formulas saying that they can afford it.
Please help me view this legislation as a positive thing. I really wanted cost control, tort reform, and a public option. I don't appear to have gotten any of that.
[Full disclosure, I'm a social libertarian. I'll pay taxes for public services, but other than that, don't tell me what to do.]