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Health care reform passes the house

By J. DeVoy

Image somewhat related - zombies just are really cool.

Obviously, people have mixed feelings about this.  The National Organization of Women is upset that the final bill doesn’t do enough to ensure women’s right to choose abortion.  At the other end of the spectrum, Ferdinand Bardamu believes it will raise government expenses and taxes without doing anything to break the stranglehold of HMO’s over healthcare.  Roissy’s stream of consciousness rant ties together a number of points about the failure of democracy, which social realists have been pointing out for some time as well.

The winners: People over fifty.  Not yet in the tender embrace of Medicare, those with the highest expenses due to the problems of middle age, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart problems, will see the best returns when this program fully goes into effect.  People with preexisting conditions will also benefit tremendously and receive coverage they previously couldn’t afford, or even have an insurance company offer to them.

The losers: Young healthy people.  Though the mandated purchase of health care means every person is covered, it comes at a price.  For non-smokers with no pre-existing conditions, covering the risk for a broader range of people will result in higher insurance premiums than they would have paid before this plan.

The missed opportunities: The bill seems to have few non-medical provisions for preventive care.  Apparently, there are no tax credits or other incentives for purchases of gym memberships, exercise equipment, or other fitness initiatives.  Giving a few bucks back for submitting a doctor’s note saying how many pounds you lost last year, so long as it wasn’t the consequence of an amputation, would seem reasonable — though privacy advocates may take issue with it.  This seems like it wouldn’t cost as much as the $6,500-8,000 in credits going to people who buy houses, and would lower future health care expenses.  Finally, this would have been an opportune time to ban or tax High Fructose Corn Syrup on a national level, yet the government squandered it.  Given the corn and farming lobby’s vise-like grip on Congress – farm subsidies tell the story – the legislature’s failure to curtail its sale is predictable.  The first lurch toward such an initiative, by taxing soda, was originally proposed in the Senate’s version of the health care reform bill, but ultimately it was dropped from the final legislation.

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