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If it please the court...

I have stumbled into some of the coverage of the Supreme Court hearings on the health care bill this week, broadcast on NPR. I haven't really meant to, because I despair that the law will survive and we will be back at square one. Hell, I despair over the law, itself, because it's so problematic and so much not what I would rather see (i.e., a public health system as in Canada and the U.K.). Having said that, though, the programs on NPR have reminded me just how much geeky fun it is analyzing all the details of the Supreme Court. It's especially so because NPR has some very good commentators and reporters on the job who tease lots of relevant details out of the proceedings and connect some far-flung but important dots. It's even better because the Court is much more open than it used to be, so that you can hear sound bites from the justices themselves as they grill the attorneys. One favorite bit was, I believe, Justice Scalia saying that they could throw the bill back to Congress, where "nothing" will happen. Snarky? But hey, he's right (and who'd ever think I would agree with Scalia on anything?).

For about half a semester of college, I considered going into not just law, but constitutional law. It might have worked out, but one has to apply oneself a bit more than I even considered applying myself. It would've changed everything, though, obviously.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 29th, 2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
Did you ever see "Sicko", by Michael Moore?

It's a real eye opener about how atrocious health care is in this country.
Mar. 29th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen that. I'm afraid I would need a sedative or an increase in my blood pressure medication afterward.
Mar. 29th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
It both angered and saddened me.

I was pissed and was crying at some parts of it, but it was done very well.
Mar. 29th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
Just a minor quibble - what you have now is conceptually actually very close to how the canadian health care system started: starting where you are now, it has been incrementally adjusted until it is essentially a collection of very large insurance companies, one for each province and a separate one for native people, tightly regulated by the government. It is not, as most americans seem to think, a program where the government simply pays for our healthcare - we all pay premiums, whether directly from our taxes, at our employment, or entirely separately. It's just that they are low enough to be affordable because EVERYBODY pays them, with allowances made for those who can't afford it. Some provinces allow clinics and doctors who are not part of the system, but they are, for obvious reasons, not very popular, and often downsize or move to participating in the system.

So don't despair. If you approve of how we handle healthcare, the US is en route to that. Provided the legislation doesn't get completely scuttled, of course.
Mar. 30th, 2012 06:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks -- I didn't realize that about the Canadian health care system being based on large insurance companies. (Of course, few Americans do. We're only told that it's "socialism.") I guess that addresses my main concern about the individual mandate, the piece of the health care act that is the biggest question: My sense (dating back to when Hillary Clinton proposed it during her husband's presidency) was that it was basically playing into the hands of the big insurance companies, when I really didn't think they were what I wanted to see supported. If my money is going to a behemoth, I'd just as soon see it go to a behemoth I have a vote in. I can have no effect on my insurance provider; my company might be able to, but as it stands I can either choose the insurance company they choose, or nothing at all. My employer subsidizes my insurance, so I have no complaints. My partner has it worse, as he buys his own coverage. He has exactly one choice; no one else will accept him at any price, through no fault of his. Its just the way the metro Louisville market is. So for both of us, the vaunted competitive market helps us not at all. Why not a government program?

Now, realizing that insurance is probably the best way to handle the issue of people suddenly needing a huge amount of benefit (especially as politicians keep messing with government agencies in a dysfunctional way), I have become more accepting of the big insurance companies, even if they seem to fail in terms of providing choice and low prices. And that requires me to support the individual mandate, because that the only way I'm going to ever pay for, say, a quadruple bypass (my mom's surgery last year) is if I and other healthy people pay now. I don't know how people who make a lot less money than I make will handle it, but that will have to be worked out in the coming years, assuming the law is not junked in the meantime.

(This could be the world's longest comment reply if I let it....)
Mar. 30th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
Well, let me hasten to add, what I'm providing is a caricature - much more detail here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Canada

It's as if healthcare were mandated by the federal government but left to the states to implement as they saw fit.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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