kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
So "health care reform" passed. Except that this isn't anything to do with actual health care; this is about insurance. And it doesn't really qualify as reform either. Oh, they say it bans insurance companies from refusing to take customers with pre-existing conditions, and that it bans insurance companies from denying coverage when you try to use it (PDF, but a great summary. You should go read it), but some states have bans like that already, and they don't help. Bans are only effective if they have strong enforcement clauses. This has very weak enforcement clauses: companies that deny coverage will be fined ten dollars a day. That's $3,650 a year. Just one specialized medical procedure can cost more than that; surgery can cost a lot more. So insurance companies will find it totally worthwhile to deny coverage, pay $3,650 a year fine, and let people die of kidney failure or whatever.

When you get right down to it, almost the only thing this bill does---besides making it even harder to get an abortion when you need one---is require all of us Americans to pay lots of money to insurance companies, without getting actual health care in exchange. If the money we can pay is not enough, the government will pay even more of our collective tax money to make sure the insurance companies get as much money as they want.

This is, in fact, the third leg of the bailout. Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate got us into economic trouble. Finance and Real Estate have already been bailed out. Now it's Insurance's turn.
kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
This isn't about health care. This is a bailout.

The bill as it seems likely to pass forces individuals to pay lots of money to insurance companies. People who don't pay money to insurance companies will be fined. If that still doesn't produce enough money to satisfy the insurance companies, the government will pay extra money directly to the insurance companies.

The financial industry (banks and investment brokers), the real-estate industry, and the insurance industry, are all so closely intertwined that economists treat them as one sector of the economy. In this current economic crash, we've already seen bailouts for the banking industry and the real-estate industry. This is the third part, bailing out the insurance industry.

Health care is just an excuse. You can tell because anything that might have improved actual health care has been systematically stripped out of the bill: no guaranteed publicly funded care, no publicly-run insurance, no option to just pay a doctor directly, no anything that wouldn't allow private insurance companies to rake off tons of money.

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kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
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