WaPo Editorial staff writer Ruth Marcus wrote an op-ed for the Sunday paper that just had me gritting my teeth.
If George W. Bush proposes something, it must be bad. Such is the knee-jerk state of partisan suspiciousness that when the president actually endorses a tax increase -- a tax increase that would primarily hit the well-off, no less -- Democrats still howl.
[..]Listening to Democratic reaction to Bush's new health insurance proposal, you get the sense that if Bush picked a plank right out of the Democratic platform -- if he introduced Hillarycare itself -- and stuck it in his State of the Union address, Democrats would churn out press releases denouncing it.
Right. It's a good thing, but we all hate it because it came out of Bush's mouth. This meme that we're all just knee-jerk Bush haters needs to stop. Marcus does make a half-hearted attempt to say that this distrust is Bush's "fault", but bends over backwards to not put too much of the blame on Bush.
Here's a newsflash, Ruth: Democrats are howling because what little had been released about Bush's health insurance program is not good. Period. Notwithstanding the number of changes Bush has promised in his six SoTU speeches versus what he's actually delivered, there is a very justifiable concern that this program will assist insurance corporations at the expense of the citizens it's supposed to be helping.
The solution to the un-affordability of healthcare is not subsidizing the buying of inefficient private health insurance and legalizing junk healthcare policies that don't cover needed care and encourage healthy and rich people to leave the health insurance risk pool. Bush is wrong- Americans don't have too much healthcare, they have too little. 2 out of 5 people with health insurance deductibles over $1,000 decide to forgo needed medical care because of the cost.
The skyrocketing costs of health care are attributable to a host of factors, from new technology, to inefficiencies in the system, and soaring HMO profits. Ultimately Health Savings Accounts as advocated for by the President would do nothing to address the fundamental problems of our enormously expensive and inefficient private health care system; HSAs just push risk and costs from businesses and the government on to America's squeezed middle class and exacerbate existing strains in the health care system.
And that's just one example of how the philosophy the President prescribed in his address fails America.
While the President could have proposed a health care plan that would cover every American for less than the annual cost of the Iraq War, President Bush has instead proposed raising taxes on middle-class Americans who have managed to secure a good health plan while making it easier for employers to get rid of the health benefits they offer.
On the surface Bush's proposal to have state governments create initiatives to get people to buy private insurance would suggest he's finally getting the message that preventative care is the way to go in terms of creating long-term, health for Americans and that leaving emergency care to pick up the pieces for the broken healthcare system is the wrong answer. But totally under-funding emergency care that helps the most vulnerable just because he refuses to challenge the insurance lobby is the worst answer too. Yes the government needs to prioritize preventative care but 1. good insurance not junk insurance provides truly preventative care 2. cutting public hospital budgets punishes the most vulnerable for the problems of the healthcare system.
And in the end of the day, can you think of one example of an over-funded public hospital?
Yeah. Thought so.
That's probably why the California Nurses Association has a great post on MyDD about healthcare.