Thursday, November 18, 2004

George Bush, Undercover Liberal

Wow, how long did that take me? Four days from swearing off politics to putting W in a post title. C'est la guerre, I suppose.

Anyway, the left blogosphere is twittering and muttering about the trial balloon tax proposal that proposes taking away health insurance deductability for employers. The theory seems to be that employers will drop health insurance for their employees like a hot potato as soon as the feds aren't underwriting it.

I say, why is this a bad thing?

It will cause short-term pain for a lot of people for whom I sympathise, and for whom I would hope that a short-term solution could be found. It will also massively increase support and momentum for the single-payer solution that many progressives (including me) consider to be the only rational way to provide health care. In the end, the effectiveness of an insurance scheme is directly proportional to the size of the pool. The only way to seriously provide insurance is to make the pool as big as possible. Realistically, the limit of that pool is pretty much the US population, but I'm sure that the odds work out better that way on payment than they do on the 80 (+ family) pool that I'm in right now.

However, my recent hospitalization (under an HMO) for five days, with visits from three specialists, a number of procedures, and the daily attention of my PCP (whom I had never met before) seems to have cost me $10. For that, I have no complaints about the current system, since I am insured. I am equally certain that most employed, insured people feel that way.

It seems that nothing except the massive abandonment of health insurance as a perk of business will encourage the single-payer plan. For his efforts in that direction, I have to salute W.