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What exactly is the Public Option?

Robert Reich explains:

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I'd be a lot more for 'it' if there weren't 3 versions of it right now up for grabs with more amendments being kicked around. What Obama says sounds super - but it's not in all the bills, each of which seems to have fatal flaws (like the effective fine/penalty for having no insurance set the same or lower than the cost of insurance, so since insurance can't refuse pre-existing conditions... hey, I know, no one needs to buy "insurance" until they know they need it! That's precisely what's happening in MA right now - and their experiment is imploding to financial ruin). These are moron-easy to fix problems with the benefit of careful reading or hindsight; the problem is they're in massive bills written over the course of years that no one seems to (claim to) have a handle on. Some of the contents predate the MA experiment without benefit of learning from it.

This whole mess just proves that either party - given a dominant majority - is still capable of poop-coating even free ice-cream.

I'd be a lot happier with a series of well-tailored, focused 40-page bills set to be voted on monthly through 2010, building reform block by block, all written to go into effect Jan 1, 2011. Omnibus crap may be the way to get it done as a package, but it's also the way to ensure compromise will happen in ways that make the bill not fit together right, ultimately making things worse, not better, and ensuring the thing will be attacked (by both parties) as a monad, not a series of steps. Someone will say the political reality is that won't work, but let me be blunt: This isn't working, either. What we get out of this will have serious, deep flaws, and we'll be right back to partisan fights over necessary overhaul in a year, with a system no better than what we have today; just flawed differently.

"the political reality is that won't work."
(just so you are confident that someone did say it).

That's a rather fatalistic view. We should do nothing because we can't do something perfectly?

No, I didn't say that at all.

But you implied it. Your proposal is that we do nothing because anything else has a problem.

Ok, maybe I'm over-reacting to your statements. Why don't you, then, propose something that (1) would work, (2) would pass in this year's congress.

No, that is not my proposal at all. I did propose something that would work. I said someone would say it wouldn't. I didn't say it wouldn't. I said it would.

We should drop what is plainly not working, break the giant mess of a special-interest soggy monster into component parts that actual humans can read, place them into a coherent order for reform over the next 2 years, and start passing them. Doesn't it make you wonder that there's instantly several versions of monster bills that almost no one in Congress has read in full? That's because no one in Congress wrote them.

Even some of the members of Congress way in favor of reform, when asked, say they haven't actually read the bill. What I've been able to pull from it is a train wreck - not long term issues we might be able to tune (like, frankly, Medicare has been), but serious total failure issues like, when you do the - grade-school-level - math, the incentive is for everyone to drop private insurance and just buy it when necessary.

Break it up, order the steps, work it through part by part. It is THAT important.

YOU say that won't work. I don't.

That's not how congress works. Congress deals with something like healthcare once a year. Once a law on X passes, there are no laws about X that reach the floor for quite some time.

I thought you are a lawyer. Don't lawyers know this kind of thing? (I don't mean that as an attack... it's a real question).

So, what you are saying is that you want the ENTIRE WAY THAT CONGRESS WORKS to change. You want a pony too? Maybe a unicorn?

This is a really annoying aspect of debating with you (and I notice this about many of my libertarian friends). You LOVE to talk about fantasy worlds that only exist in your head. Places where our government works in an entirely different way; not reality. Yes, I'd love a world that worked that way, but I'd also like a pony AND a unicorn. That's not the point. The point is WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT HEALTHCARE REFORM THIS YEAR.

You're answer is equivalent to:
1. nothing

Now let's look at the crazy fucked up "birther" and "Obama is a Nazi" crowd. They are very different from you. I'm not saying that you are with them. I am not saying that you are supporting them. But check this out: What is their goal? To make sure that nothing happens.

OMG! Did you catch that? You have the same outcome as them, even though that wasn't your goal.

That is why debating with you is so upsetting to me. You aren't one of them but via naïvety (or brilliant acting) you get the same result.

Like a baby knocking over china in a china shop, people of your ilk aren't looking around at the destruction they cause and wondering, "what was that crash? It certainly wasn't me!"

It is you. Not on purpose, but the entire [lL]ibertarian movement constantly gets taken advantage of this way. It is naive and sad. Heck, how many times in the last 15 years did libertarians vote for a Republican only to get screwed.

Dude, we support SO many of the same things. We are in agreement in more ways than we aren't. It's a shame that we keep debating the meta issues instead of working together to find solutions.

I was writing a thoughtful reply, but the more I read your post over, the more it's clear it's just a massive insult with a little "not an attack" band-aid on it. No, Tom, I don't want a unicorn. I'd like a rational discussion with you without nastiness for once, but you're being a prick hiding insults behind a 'not as an attack' warning.

I'll do my best, but I am really gritting my teeth. You are being a serious asshole, Tom. "No attack meant."

I thought you are a lawyer. Don't lawyers know this kind of thing? (I don't mean that as an attack... it's a real question).

I keep re-writing a response to that, but how about this: assume I do, and go re-read my previous post with the idea that I wrote it with the way Congress works in mind. Hmmm kay, Captain Insult Man?

This omnibus set as it is developing is terrible IMO. It's not what Obama is asking for. It's not what he promised. It's not subject to tweaking into shape over time after it goes into effect, as right now all the revs I have seen appear to contain their own destruction. If Congress can fix that before bringing it to the floor, great. But it doesn't look that way. I've written my (D) congressman and pointed some of the issues I could find - I think that's helping. I think campaigning for it to pass isn't helping because it's a bad bill right now. It needs major fixing. What's wrong with it can be seen right now in operation in MA. I really DO NOT want a clone of MassCare - that is destroying MA's healthcare system faster than any crisis has in its history.

I really don't know what to do with the rest of your post, it's just so bloody insulting. "People of [my] ilk," Tom? You have absolutely no idea what my ilk is. You get it wrong every time we have these discussions. I have no idea who you think I am, politically, though you keep painting me as some kind of extreme economic libertarian, which I am not. I don't fit in a politics box very well, but I do know that I don't want giant, interested corporations writing health care packages into law - we have that right now and it's bad enough with insurance controlling so much of delivery right now. Yet that is what this giant bill ultimately IS. No one else has the money to pick it over and send tweaks to pet congresscritters but insurance and pharma.

The bill needs to be a set of smaller acts in a package. I don't care if they are dumped in committee and worked over as a series, from most fundamental to least critical, to be sent to the floor as an omnibus, but I don't like the omnibus being the starting point.

I hope you can see your way to a less nasty response.

Edited at 2009-09-12 02:13 am (UTC)

I read the first sentence and decided that I didn't need to read the rest.

We should do nothing because we can't do something perfectly? is a straw man of your invention. It has no relation to the post you're replying to.

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