The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Health Care Delayed

Rich Galen

Wednesday July 29, 2009

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  • The bloom is off the Obama rose. After getting just about everything he wanted out of the Democrat-controlled Congress for the first six months of his Presidency, it doesn't look like Barack Obama is going to get the health care overhaul he was seeking prior to the August recess.

  • The other day I spoke with Mark Z. Barabak, who is officially listed as "a roving political writer for the Los Angeles Times" by the Los Angeles Times about the whole health care deal.

  • I said that when it comes to the Cash-for-Clunkers deal, no one has to buy a new car. When it comes to fixing a bridge, no bridge has to be fixed. When it comes to bailing out AIG and GM and Chrysler, and Bank of America, and the rest of the wall street crooks for 17 gillion dollars, none of them has to be bailed out.

  • But when it comes to health insurance � that's personal.

  • People who are in their 20's and early 30's consider themselves to be - as the military folks like to say - bulletproof and invisible. I suspect they are a significant portion of the "uninsured." They don't think they are likely to get sick, and they drive their cars with such skill and dexterity that an accident is not in their line of sight.

  • From their mid-30's onward, anyone with children worries about their kids getting sick or, worse yet, injured and they want to be certain that should that, God forbid, happen that they can get their child the care he or she needs.

  • When we get into our 40's and 50's, the aches and pains run the risk of becoming heart disease, arthritis, or diabetes and we start worry a great deal about really big medical bills for things which, previously, had only been an issue for our parents.

  • I remember watching an HBO documentary a hundred years ago about a family of small time crooks who robbed convenience stores and sold (and used) drugs. Every time they were busted, which was just about every time they tried to boost a boom box from a drug store in Queens, they were hauled into court and were represented by a lawyer paid for by the taxpayers of the City of New York.

  • I thought then, and I think now, that if we can provide a lawyer for really stupid and ignorant petty criminals, we should be able to provide a doctor for sick children.

  • The problem for Obama, as I explained to Mark Barabas, is no one understands what in the world his plan is. If he has a plan. No one knows what is in the House bill and there isn't a Senate bill well developed enough for serious consideration.

  • A century or so ago, someone wrote that the financial system of Great Britain was so complex that only two people understood it: The Chancellor of the Exchequer and a minor clerk in the Bank of England � and they didn't agree.

  • That's where we are with America's health care system.

  • The current system isn't working. Anyone who has to pay for their own insurance will attest to that. As the economy continues to struggle, more and more companies are having to choose between payroll and health insurance. That means more Americans are falling into the uninsured category and they don't like it.

  • We've heard for decades that it was the health insurance for auto workers, especially retired auto workers, which was dragging U.S. car manufacturers into bankruptcy. Maybe so. Health insurance appears to be dragging the entire country into bankruptcy. Especially as those of us who belong to that pesky "baby boomer" generation continue to age.

  • In fact, Cici Connelly, reporting in the Washington Post wrote:
    Polls show that senior citizens are more skeptical about health-care reform than any other age group.

  • We've got some really smart people in the United States. Really smart people who are not ideologues and who can figure out a system which works for almost all of us.

  • No system will work for everyone. As we've discussed here before, perfection is a religious, not a political, concept.

  • The Congress should bring as many experts as they can find to Washington and ask them come up with a system which works best for most people.

  • They won't, more's the pity. We are in a period of political gotcha where seeking partisan advantage is much more important than solving serious problems.

  • Health care will be delayed beyond the President's deadline. But we can't delay it forever.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Washington Post piece and a Bloomberg analysis. A Mullfoto of a vehicle in Old Town which, I think, should qualify for the Cash-for-Clunkers program and a Catchy Caption of the Day showing at least a bit of progress in Iraq.

    --END --
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