Now that the governor and legislature have at last cobbled together their “historic” and "courageous" health care proposal, let me say again that this plan promises to be groundbreaking only to the degree that it models how not to address the health care crisis.
The plan leaves in place—or even strengthens—two of the most fundamental causes of the crisis:
1. It actually strengthens the link to employment—an accidental artifact of the post-World-War-II economy, that now restricts career choices, restrains business (small business especially), and strips people of coverage at exactly the moment when we become too sick to work.
2. The plan leaves huge decisions about health care in the hands of private companies that can profit only when they do not provide health care--and proposes no effective regulation of premiums or extent of coverage. (It does require insurers to spend 85% of premiums on health care—but someone is going to have to explain to me why that’s not an incentive to insurers to raise premiums.)
I posted a more fully argued, less weary version of my disappointment with this state’s leaders in the fall—right here. At this point, I’m just fighting off the desire to flee to France, or England, or Germany, or any of several dozen other countries—since on this issue at least, every other “developed” country seems to have its priorities straight, and has managed somehow, miraculously, to surmount all the alleged obstacles to provide real universal health coverage.