Monday, March 22, 2010

The Jabberwock Bill: The End of Ugly?

At last, my fellow Americans, we have . . . something.   Something called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed the House last night and will be signed into law by the President, probably on Tuesday.

I am not throwing confetti or tossing around the term "historic." I concede that Obama-Pelosi is the first president-speaker team ever to enact any legislation to change the entire American health care system.

Whether these changes will be for better or for worse remains to be seen. 

I applaud the passage of the bill in the hope that it will bring, sooner rather than later, an end to a magna cum ugly period of our national history.

The citizenry has endured:

+ Republican sophistry, hate-talk, racism, lies, deception, expletives, middle-fingering and hypocrisy in opposition to any effort to improve the health care system, ignoring the thousands of American deaths each year from treatable ailments for which the victims couldn't afford care.  This is somewhat equivalent to (but worse than) not just rooting against Tiny Tim, but hoping he'll break his crutch and die already.

+Misleading statements, back-room deals, sell-outs and double-talk by the president, congresspeople and senators we elected with a mandate for quality health care for everyone.  This ideally would mean, as Obama himself acknowledged, a single-payer, government-run plan like Medicare for all.  He didn't even suggest it, however.  Instead he publicly appeared to favor a paliative called public option while in secret promising the health insurance industry that it would be struck from the final bill.  Even before work on the bill had begun in Congress, he sold out to the insurance industry, promising to eliminate any provisions that would protect consumers just a little bit from price-gouging.  Finally, for all the starry-eyed women who swooned over his oratory and gave him their vote, he bargained away their right to total gynecological health care.

+ Utter exclusion from the process of those elected representatives of the people like Dennis Kucinich and Russ Feingold who actually believed that affordable health care for all meant .  . . affordable health care for all!  Ultimately even they fell in line behind the . . . something . .  that finally passed.  Only they know why.

So here's to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Oh frabjous day, calloo callay!
I fear we're screwed in every way.
Beware the Jabberwock, my son,
With jaws that snatch and cries that ring,
For oft it comes disguised as . . . something.

Whose Soiree Now?

Assume that the government estimate of 32 million presently uninsured citizens buy health care insurance as required under the new law. Assume that the premiums they are charged will be roughly comparable to the premiums now paid by Medicare beneficiaries (regardless of what portion is paid by the consumer or by the government).  Then, the additional income for health care insurers will be approximately $5.76 trillion per year.

And so:

NEW YORK (AP) - Health stocks lifted the market Monday following House approval of the bill that would extend insurance to millions.

The Dow-Jones Industrial Average rose about 45 points in afternoon trading. Broader indexes also climbed.

Investors had expected the health care bill would pass the House, but the approval late Sunday removed uncertainty about the rules that would govern the industry. A companion bill now goes back to the Senate. The changes could have far-reaching effects on health companies.

Hospital operators Tenet Healthcare Corp. and Health Management Associates Inc. each rose more than 8 percent.

Ugly's Last Stand?

And so in Arizona and New York and Ohio  and perhaps elsewhere, rocks were thrown through the windows of Democrats congressional offices apparently at the behest of an overweight troglodyte in Alabama.

Republican state attorneys general are filing suit to have the health care bill declared unconstitutional, and the Roberts Supreme Court is salivating blood in eager anticipation of doing just that.

Somewhere someone in a tea party T shirt is kicking Tiny Tim's crutch out from under him and clubbing him to death like a baby seal with it.

Ugly dies hard in these United States.

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