So now that Olympia Snowe has jumped ship and neutered her party (no 40 votes, no sustained filibuster), I've been thinking about the various arguments they will probably try to bring out in a last ditch effort to not piss off those insurers and pharma giants lining their wallets. As I went back over some of the classic GOP arguments, I came to realize just how moronic they are.
First, there's this "choice" one. The inclusion of a public option, a single payer system, or even some reform that lightly suggests that insurance companies lower their rates, probably in a Hallmark card that says "pretty please" in it, will grossly encroach on Americans' freedom to choose where they get their insurance. The GOP seems to be laboring under the impression that people have a wide variety of preferences in coverage. Let's say you take any random person off the street and ask them the following question:
Which form of health insurance do you want?What do you think the breakdown of that question is going to be? I'm guessing a pretty consistent "C" although you'll probably get some smartass with a shitty haircut who claims to be a libertarian saying that you're a nazi. Buying health insurance isn't like buying a car. You don't have to decide what color you like, what kind of hauling power you need or if fuel efficiency is crucial to you. There's not a wide range of designer features to be opinionated about. Health insurance exists to do one thing: make you not dead when you otherwise would be. A good health insurance policy would cover whatever you need it to cover at a price you can meet. This does NOT mean everyone's policy would be identical, it just means that everyone would be catered to by their policy. When you look at it this way, there's no need for a "choice," because everyone's choice will be the same. Maybe this is why the GOP is skittish about the public option; if its good, it will become single payer. But why shouldn't it?
A. Coverage I can afford that doesn't cover me
B. Coverage that would cover me if I could afford it
C. Coverage that covers me that I can afford
My second favorite illogical argument is really a family of arguments. These include, "a public option will be too bureaucratic," and "your care will be rationed." I call this family of arguments the "what the fuck do you think we're dealing with now" family. This is basically the tactic of taking what's wrong with the current system and implying that its a problem that doesn't exist but will if a new system is introduced. Its like arguing that you shouldn't drink water because it will make you dehydrated. What drives me crazy about these arguments is not that they are wrong but that they are irrelevant. Assuming the GOP is correct, introducing a public option with these flaws that aren't apparently inherent in our other insurance options would work in their favor. It would prove them right. You would think that if the Democrats were so stupid, the best way to show the American people would be to let them fail as proof. No, the GOP is saying all this stuff not to convince you or me, but to try to convince themselves.
We've heard all this before but prepare to hear it again. As debate on bills in both houses of congress heat up, we will get the same rehashed nonsense shoved down our throats again and its going to get very tedious and obnoxious for all involved. But I'm not sure it matters now. Snowe is on board for at least some kind of reform and there is the possibility that Susan Collins will join her. If that's true, then they've thrown their lot in with the Dems and if the final bill does include a public option, it may be politically disadvantageous for them to pull back at the 11th hour. Of course the rest of the GOP will stonewall, but 38 votes cannot sustain a filibuster, and even if blue dogs do not vote in favor of the bill its also politically unwise for them to actually join the Republicans in trying to kill it. With only 51 votes required to pass legislation, a public option is still very possible. Sphere: Related Content