Obamacare. Am I for it or against it?
In late January of 2006, I fell and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. The diagnosis: a subdural hematoma, which means bleeding under the membrane that surrounds the brain. When your luck is bad, such an injury is fatal, as in the case of Natasha Richardson. If your luck is good, you live, but results may vary. If your luck is very good, as mine was, you have very few cognitive problems and stand a good chance of recovering fully, although, for me, a full recovery does not seem to be in the cards.
Such an injury is sure to make you well acquainted with the health care system. I have been in a few ambulances, emergency care, MRI and CAT scan machines, gurneys, double-occupancy hospital rooms, crowd-occupancy hospital rooms. I have seen specialists, generalists and even a herbalist. I've taken some drugs, seen a psychiatrist, gone on disability, breathed pure, pressurized oxygen. It's been a ride, to be sure. And overall, I've been impressed. My care has not been perfect, it could never be, but it's been darn good. And my insurance companies have been good, too, especially UnitedHealthcare. (Note: I know, I know, I was LUCKY to have insurance, very lucky.)
So when Barack Obama went on the warpath for to make health care a government run entitlement, I was not exactly loading up my musket to help him out. In fact, I was worried from the get go, because his ideas just seemed so, how should I put this, lame. I'm sure many out there will dispute what I'm about to write, but I'm ready for you!
Obamacare can be summed up thusly: the government should do it.
Naturally, this failed right out of the gate, as Americans know better than to blindly believe the government can do much of anything right.
So Obama went back to the drawing board, sort of. More accurately, he turned to Congress an said, "You figure it out." The result is something only a true bureaucrat could love, a multi-thousand page legislative labyrinth that references thousands of other pages of legislation. I read once that to truly know what's in the health care bill you would have to read over 50,000 pages of single-spaced governmentese. Kafka could not have done better.
Yet Obama blessed it and made it law. And I am against it. What he has done is pass a massive, nearly impossible to understand bill that will affect the lives of every single citizen of this country -- of the world, really -- as our economic engine chokes on the grime of government largesse. Even the one bit of the bill that appeals to me -- the bit about pre-existing conditions -- is complex and not totally clear. As things stand it becomes law in 2014, I think. Honestly, I'm not sure. But no matter. I'm betting now that this clause won't last. In the end the health care bill will be an enforced, yet unenforceable, travesty, clogging courts with case after case, while driving up costs and creating massive uncertainty around care. Damn, it's enough to make my head hurt.
(Next up: what I would have done!)