What those lefties call a ‘dumping ground’ I call a lot of otherwise uninsurable people getting insurance. The ‘dumping ground’ argument might carry some weight if it were not the case that uninsurable people already exist in vast numbers – but they do exist. If we do not make insurance available to them now, because we think we might get a less expensive deal sometime soon after deep-sixing the current effort, then we are sacrificing these people’s insurability for the ‘principle’ that they shouldn’t have to pay so much (and also we have bats in the belfry).
Insure people, make insurance an institution, and then, when it costs too much, it will be easier than now to regulate price, and harder than now to let people go uninsured. Consider the Medicare Part D Donut Hole (which I am in, of course): which is more likely to happen, that the hole will be filled or that Part D will be rescinded? And who is the liberal that would pinch pennies rather than insure people? What has happened to our hearts since we failed the uninsured in 1993? Will we fail them again, for our ‘principles’ of penny-pinching? (Dennis Kucinich, who probably saves wrapping paper, might say yes.)
Look at Robert Reich: the man is like a quivering (though small :) ) mass of Jell-o. On the one hand, he says now is no time for the government to pinch pennies, but on the other hand he fears the ‘dumping ground’ and that healthcare reform will be too expensive, and that then the dreadful ‘Republicans’ will say it was a bad deal and a failure. Quit quivering, and stand erect, my fellow liberal: We do not fear what ‘Republicans’ might say. And I’ll tell you this now, Mr. Former Labor Secretary with Soiled Armor: the ‘Republicans’ will say the reform was a failure.
Say what you might about Alan Grayson and his rhetoric (TPM for instance is not amused) – he has an appeal, and the main appeal is that he doesn’t give a damn what the Republicans say. He’s right in their face and they can’t do a thing about it. And he has an extra appeal for me, in that he knows, I think, that this reform effort should be primarily about getting the uninsurable insured – that healthcare should be a person’s right – with fear of the costs of medicine making our success much likelier now than it was in 1993.
The ‘debate’ has gotten to the point where I am preparing myself to view timid liberals as part of the opposition, who are afraid of the future much as the Republicans are terrified of it. ‘Strength’ now is not determined by truth to one’s word – Dennis Kucinich may vote no as promised, but because he is a mouselike penny-pincher borrowed from Dickens, and Bernie Sanders may vote no because he knows his vote isn’t needed, due to the bill being sufficiently ‘weakened’ to get other votes – no, ‘strength’ now is determined by the courage to go through with this thing.