Health care reform could be more simple; Afghanistan tar baby…

I was off the internet for a long time due to my old computer crashing and the fact that I have been out on the  road driving a big truck and have felt out of touch with the news. I buy a newspaper from time to time, but there is little to read or at least little I want to read in them these days. But I did catch some radio and TV news and I did glean some things out of the papers.

From what I gather I am disappointed in health care reform. It sounds as if it is too little too late or too much too late or too complicated. I had previously blogged that I thought they (pushers of reform) were perhaps making things too complicated (and probably too expensive in the process).

It seems to me that the primary focus should be to offer coverage to those who do not now have it for whatever reason. It seems to me that this could have been done, and still could be done, by simply expanding Medicare, and in fact there was some talk of doing just that.

Even the most reactionary conservatives, people who may not know what those terms mean (reactionary, conservative), support Medicare, almost as a God-given right. These are folks who swear that they do not believe in any kind of socialism (read “communism”), but stand by their right to receive Medicare and Social Security (“I paid into it”, they proclaim).

This nation, the USA, has a built-in resistance to government-sponsored, single payer health care for all, but over the years it has seen the development of a defacto version of a health care system — basically insurance through your job, Medicare or some form of it (Medicaid and so on) for the elderly and disabled, or just plain private insurance.

But in this process millions of people get left out for a variety of reasons, but mainly cost and unemployment.

So why could we have not simply expanded Medicare to pick up those who could not get health insurance any other way?

In our system, such as it is, those who can afford to pay for their insurance should, even those who might be offered the expanded Medicare.

There would have to be some system or rules to figure out eligibility and a sliding scale to determine who would have to pay and how much. In the process, there would be some inequity. There always is. No system is perfect.

But with tight restrictions, we could have, and still could, offer some type of coverage to all at a much lower cost, saving the massive indebtedness we are headed for.

And while I am on the subject, I want to comment that I had always wondered why there was resistance to allowing insurance companies from operating across state lines, as the Republicans call for. Now I find out from reading the news that one problem is that if allowed to do so, companies would choose to operate out of states that do not have a lot of consumer protection rules. In other words consumer protection rules, such as in California, where I live, could be bypassed. Seems to me that could be fixed. Competition is needed.


It seems as if President Obama has got himself stuck in a similar way as the late president Lyndon Johnson did to the Vietnam tar baby. Call it the Afghanistan tar baby. At least Obama did not claim in his campaign for office that he would do otherwise.

But I think we as a nation are either indifferent to that war or have lost sight of what we are trying to accomplish.

I for one have no interest in nation building. True nations are built as an almost natural process by those who live in them.

We originally went into Afghanistan under Bush man junior to go after Osama Bin Laden and Co. and those who aided and abetted him, the Taliban and Al Qaeda or whomever. But Bush lost interest and went to nation building in Iraq. Perhaps Bush or Shrub, as the late Molly Ivans called him, is smarter than I give him credit for. Maybe he realized that Afghanistan was hopeless and thought he could grab som glory in Iraq.

Maybe sometimes the best defense is a good offense. But it seems to me that we should limit our offense to going after those who did or would attack us and not try to re-build the world in our image — we can leave the latter to God.

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