Readers of my blog have probably noticed that I’ve been a little quiet on the health care bill as it has gone through the Senate meat-grinder. This is because I find the process depressing. Watching the will of the people get twisted, watered-down, thrown out, or outright replaced with opposite legislation takes its toll.
What the final bill will look like at this point is still anyone’s guess. But, it’s not looking good for the public option. With no public option, I believe the mandate for insurance coverage has to be thrown out as well, or we will just end up with a forced giveaway to a near-monopoly private industry. The public option and the mandate for coverage should be a package deal — lose one and lose the other.
Whatever the case may be with the public option and the mandate for coverage, we will most likely be getting some real reform out of this bill. No more preexisting conditions. No more dropped coverage when you get sick. An insurance exchange that could offer insurance across state lines and follow you from job to job. These are nothing to sneeze at.
But the Senate debate has made it crystal clear: the real danger all along was not that the government would “take over health care,” but that corporate interests would find a way to lock in a nation of customers at rip-off prices. Republicans locking in their opposition from the beginning has allowed a handful of conservative Democrats (and Joe Lieberman) to drag their knuckles and nearly derail the whole process on behalf of the interests of the insurance industry.
If we end up with a turd of a health care bill, I know right where to place the blame.