Friday, July 17, 2009
Off Topic - Health Care Rant
YES!! Finally, someone telling it like it is. The Washington Post today reports that Congress's chief budget analyst Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, said bills crafted by Democrat House leaders and the Senate health committee "do not propose 'the sort of fundamental changes' necessary to rein in the skyrocketing cost of government health programs, particularly Medicare. On the contrary, Elmendorf said, the measures would pile on an expensive new program to cover the uninsured."
You cannot keep what's old and not working in order to keep the insurance lobby happy, and then pile something new and expensive over the top of it. You have to reinvent the wheel. YES YES YES. Thank you Doug Elmendorf.
I'm sure this won't be a popular statement with some of my friends. Sigh... Just because he's Obama doesn't mean he's immune from the politics of DC. If he has to over-compromise to get votes, the thing that's passed may bear little resemblance to the solution necessary to solve the original problem.
Find the entire article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/16/AR2009071602242.html?wpisrc=newsletter.
I could not find Elmendorf's actual testimony, but I will keep looking.
And for anyone who missed my post of July 6, 2009, I take my liberty to reprint this Washington Fable:
A Washington Fable
Once upon a time, Congress was charged with creating a totally new animal - a political animal. Before long, Washington was abuzz with talk about what qualities and characteristics would be most important for a political animal. Phones and fax lines and email boxes were lit up with calls and notes from constituents and campaign donors pushing their opinions, and lobbyists were jostling for presence in such competitive abundance that legislators started leaving by the back stairway to avoid their sales pitches. After awhile the legislators formed opinion groups around the strongest of their ideas. Several such groups vied for supremacy, each wanting the new political animal to be modeled after a particular existing animal. One bunch argued that the animal would be well-served if it were giraffe-like, with long legs and neck to rise above the crowd and reach high places. A second faction spoke on behalf of the massive, armored body of a rhino, the better to withstand and survive whatever attacks it was sure to get from hords of other animals. A third crowd praised the virtues of the majestic lion, full of pride and integrity and leadership ability. A particularly powerful group (they were connected to a large body of politically active citizens who could be mobilized on a dime) thought the animal ought to imitate the pelican, because, it said, pelicans are particularly protective of their progeny, and that would ensure the beast's long-term political survival and influence. These were the loudest voices, but there were others: A small but eloquent quorum sang for an elephant (big ears for full information gathering and a long nose for reaching into other people's business), one noisy legislator pushed for a replica of the pig (able to squeal loudly for attention, breaking through the noisy drone of political drudgery), and a few other ideas from random pairs of legislators whose votes might be needed for something else, so their thoughts could not be ignored.
Therefore, Congress, ever a body of compromise, built in its wisdom an animal with the legs and neck of a giraffe, the colossal body of a rhino, the full-maned head of the lion, the beak of the pelican, the ears of an elephant, the tail of the pig, and a few other adjustments to appease the necessary folks.
The poor thing, set free to do its business, was soon tripping and falling all over itself. The constituents, campaign donors and lobbyists scratched their heads, said, "well, what did you expect of Congress?" and took to fighting about whether we should get rid of the animal all together, or simply have it altered.
The moral of the story: Policy is supposed to solve social problems. Too much compromise may get the political vote done, but might result in a public program that doesn't function well in reality. That's what we do when we try to put too many pieces together to please everyone, call it "policy" and then try to watch it walk.