Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Betwixt and Between Conventions on Health Care Issues

My friend, judge not me,
Thou seest I judge not thee,
Betwixt the stirrup and the ground
Mercy asked, mercy found.

William Camden (1551-1623), Epitaph for a man killed by falling off a horse

I am a war between twixt and will not.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616),  Measure for Measure

September 2, 2012  - The Democrats and Republicans are at war for the presidency and control of Congress.  They are betwixt and between their conventions.   I have yet to hear much detail about what they specifically plan to  do about Obamacare.  I hear shouts to repeal it one side, and silence on the other.

Both sides are afraid of falling their horses to their electoral college deaths.  They are all hats and no saddles, big on rhetoric and short on reality.  Yes, there's plenty of high hat talk about  whether Medicare will soon be be gone "as we know it, " and about "raiding" Medicare to pay for Obamacare, but little about keeping their balance to keep from falling off the horse.

Democrats call the health reform law an "historic achievement," but skim over its failure to lower costs, widen access, and elevate quality. Republicans call it a "monumental monstrosity," but fail to acknowledges what they will do about its popular features - covering young people under 26 under their parents' policies, protecting those with preexisting illnesses, keeping seniors form falling too deeply into the "donut hole." The GOP market-baksed alternatives  have yet to be fleshed out in detail.

Whatever one calls it - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, or an Obamanation- we know this.  In the 2 1/2 years since its passage, 10 million to 20 million patients have lost their coverge or their doctors,  health costs have risen by 10% to 20%,  premiums have doubled,  confusion has reigned, and partisanship has deepened.

This partisanship stems from the way it was passed, in the dead of night with Medicaid bribes for 3 wavering Democratic senators,  by an obscure legislative process known as reconciliation and without a single Republican vote.  This political chicanery evoked GOP cries that the Democrats had "rammed" their "achievement" "down the throats" of the American public, which from the beginning have opposed it  by significant margins.

Only  the November 2012 election will tell where we go from here. If Obama wins big, or even in part with one wing of Congress, we will slog on.  If the GOP sweeps, repeal will cause chaos at firts, and will thenlead to some form of reform reconfiguration..

If Romney wins, there could be a psychological reawakening of the power of entrepreneurship, a surge of new  business start-ups, ignition of competition as a means of lowering costs.  Corporations may even take the cash off their shelves, reinvest in the future, and start hiring.  An economic rebirth, after all,  is built party on confidence, certainty, and psychological momentum.

Tweet: The GOP convention is over,the Democratic convention looms, and no end is in sight for Medicare and Obamacare.  We are betwixt and between.

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