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The Price of Infamy

on November 10th, 2013 by mark

I’m as likely as anyone to believe in the creativity of the American experiment, the American dream. I even have little bits of emotional strings that occasionally tug at me when I read histories of the Revolutionary era, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson. But it’s not all mythology and melancholy. Some of it is rooted and tethered to the firm belief that what we have gained in the past 50 years has, if not erased, then buried under the ineffable ruts of progress the slow steady growth of hope and even liberty.

No platitudes, though. No small fragments from Franklin or Madison. This is our time and we’ve made choices that have put us on a particular path. For whatever reason, our country lurched to the political left hard enough that the things we put into the world that were unique, individual liberty, innovation and progress are now all moving somehow backwards. Progress has slowed. In an era when technology moved decidedly in favor of giving individuals choices and opportunities, the people as a whole voted for collectivism and the slow steady movement of railroads over airliners.

I actually hate writing about politics here and in many ways, I’m a recovering politiholic, but I can’t help be struck not just by the unified grab of socialized medicine and the somehow newly generated idea that “free healthcare” is a right among industrialized countries, but the fettered, broken, nearly Soviet-era way in which the whole thing was launched. This massive golden idol that was the “centerpiece of this president’s legislative agenda” is not even a pig with lipstick. It’s a turd. And a giant one too big to go down any sewer with anything like alacrity. We’re stuck in its morass.

The new technology turns out to be pretty old technology that wasn’t even tested properly. The website that was to carry the ease with which people could sign up turns out to be insecure and dangerous and, more importantly, broken before it ever launched. Nevermind that the whole idea was to cover people who otherwise didn’t have insurance–but the idea that those people would somehow have laptops and wifi in their homes so they could get insurance was never questioned–and still isn’t. The thought that the government is going to insure people who, if you put them in front of a laptop, wouldn’t know how to access the healthcare they’re apparently going to get for free, doesn’t seem to have dawned on anyone.

Fallacy after fallacy, fault after fault, broken promise after broken promise and lie after lie have now firmly planted a piece of legislation in the American lap and it will not go away. It hasn’t really made life better for anyone, though we’re told if we just wait long enough, it will. If a company launched this way, all of the principles would now be sending out resumes and the news would be nothing more than a slight obituary: “We came. We saw. It didn’t work. Move on.” But this is the government and the government gets as many do-overs as our tax dollars will allow.

No one is embarrassed. No one has been fired. No one is explaining. The apologies are half-hearted and the fix is that there isn’t a fix.

For the record-fixing healthcare was never the issue and never will be. Healthcare is personal and individual and the only way to fix it is to ensure it stays that way. Solutions could have come from anywhere–up to and including simple things to drive down rates like allowing insurance companies to compete over state lines, while mandating that companies have to provide for pre-exisiting conditions. This could have been done by slapping a two percent tax on policies in each state. That money would go into a state pool, allowing people who could not other wise afford insurance to access it for a time, say three years or so. Health savings accounts could be established for those with the means to do so-and again, slap a two percent tax on each one and provide for those who cannot get or won’t get access. But these things would not allow political control, would not give power to any group. They would, however, empower the individual.

I got somehow lost in all of this. I’m barely affected, too–at least for now.  As a teacher, the very people for whom I work advocated and pushed for the passage of this broken new system–and yet, teachers unions have been given waivers and are not really affected by the ACA. My health care insurance has changed but little. And that’s the problem–we now live in a time when it’s perfectly acceptable to aid in the political process by making sure legislation passes making deep impacts on our fellow citizens, but openly ask for freedom from that very legislation as we believe it will not be good for us. That counts as “good politics.”

I confess–I’m a bit concerned about where all of this is heading.


Posted in Culture

2 Responses to “The Price of Infamy”

  1. roy villa says:

    Hello mark, good article and you may be surprised but i agree with alot of your comments. The interstate business i think should be permit and yes health insurance co should NOT be allow to discriminate or deny citizens of insurance. while healthcare is personal, it is NOT individual when the insured has to pay a higher insurance premium and medical cost to cover the uninsured. thus, i believe in the mandate the supreme court upheld. ACA will need to be modified, corrected and revised but not DELETED, cause the idea of a national health system is supported by the general public eventhough many do not support ACA. Take care buddy. Yes, unions can be a real self serving organization.

  2. Scott says:

    Hehe…you said “stuck in its morass!”

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