GorT carefully peeked into his Facebook and Twitter this morning to get a lay of the land. My takeaway: democrats/liberals/those on the left (choose your terminology) have a lot of free time. I honestly don’t know what they’re doing. I have a dog that needs walking, laundry that needs washing, folding, and ironing, dishes to wash, a house to clean, a job that while it is notionally an 8-hour-a-day job sometimes has me working in the evenings, three kids to manage, and yes, a wife who I love spending time with doing things other than the list above. Sigh. In my social media feeds, there are numerous examples of those on the left who dedicated time watching the vote in Congress on the GOP Healthcare efforts. Aside from the likelihood that this kind of practice encourages the 24-second news cycle where all sorts of poor journalism takes place, how does that vote change your life that immediately that you couldn’t wait for the morning news cycle. Seriously, folks posted that they were staying up, even though they had early morning cross-country flights.
I get that the bill is a mess. I’d argue that PP-ACA and the way it was crafted really pushed us into this mess. And to deflect any early criticism of that statement consider the following:
- It was a huge modification to the health care insurance market – a private sector business area over which the Constitution provides no authority – done in a single bill over the span of one and a half Congressional sessions.
- While the democrats provided for more “preliminary” opportunities for working across the aisle, the net result was largely a closed-door effort by the democrats that was passed with legislative maneuvering.
- Key advertised benefits of the bill were completely false, and known to those advertising it before the vote (“you can keep your plan, if you like it”).
- Many claim that the democrats incorporated hundreds of GOP amendments – in reality, most of those were technical in nature and not substantive to the bill.
So, if people wonder why the GOP is so bent on repealing it, consider the origin. Imagine if, in 2008, Congress tackled some small things related to health care insurance – managing the pre-existing condition issue, enabling competition across state lines, tort reform, etc. We wouldn’t have Rep Pelosi’s infamous quote, “you have to pass the bill to know what’s in it.” – and no, that’s not because of the length but because of the sheer size of the change and all of the dust it kicked up.
But back to my main point: if you have the stomach, go check out social media or just various sites on the internet. The amount of time and effort made by people about how torn they are about McCain – he’s a hero for fighting cancer (yeeeaahhh! He’s a hero!!!) but then he returns to vote to open a floor debate on the bill (Booooo! He’s the devil incarnate!) and then joins with a few other GOP senators to vote down the bill (Yeeeahhh! He’s hero….I think). And the hyperbole is over the top – tens of millions will lose their healthcare and die next year. The conflation of health care and health care insurance and the government’s involvement in it is a topic we covered on our podcast so I won’t repeat it here – it’s worth a listen.
Finally, imagine a country where people don’t spend this sort of focus on these things. Where political decisions don’t become such a spectator sport that encourages the players (our elected officials) to keep their positions almost regardless of their job, and where people can actually have a healthy debate on topics. Maybe one where small changes are considered before multi-Trillion dollar programs are legislatively maneuvered into effect with the understanding that undoing them will be terribly difficult. Maybe I’m trying to push grandma over the cliff in her wheelchair, but if you want government not to tell you what to do – with your body, your health decisions, or your life, then get them out of the health care AND health care insurance business.