Coming to America because. . . ?

One of the nice things about spending time with my relatives in "red" California (Orange County) every now and then is to hear what the "other" Californians believe about the world. Today, I learned that people actually parrot the Republican Party line: America has the best health care in the world, and that's why people are coming to this country.


Let's try this thought experiment. Suppose you're a Border Patrol agent, out among the Saguaro cactus of Arizona's Sonoran Desert. The summertime temperatures rise above 110. Hundreds, possibly thousands of people die there every year, trying to come to America. Many of those who do not die are apprehended by the Border Patrol.

Suppose each would-be immigrant was asked, "Why are you coming to America?"

Do you really think even one of them would answer, "I'm coming for the health care"?

I'm sure nearly all would say they're coming for the money. They'd say they're coming to work in the fields, or work as day laborers, or work in factories and sweatshops. They're going to come for a season, work, and send the earning back home. Or they're coming to live in America, or they're coming so their children will have access to free and universal education.

Immigrants (legal or illegal) from other countries will give different answers, but I would still bet we'd get answers like, "I'm coming so I can buy a home of my own" or "I want to get a beter job" or "I want to get a better education" or "I want to enjoy political and/or religious freedom."

There may be some people who are coming for the health care, but I'm sure they'd be a pretty tiny minority. I think if dittoheads actually gave some thought to the immigration picture in our country, they'd agree.

Health Care Town Halls

health care town hall Tuesday 7PM Alh Library

protesters are converging on it.

What's surprising is that these people haven't really thought too deeply about this law.

Of the big proposals, it's the less "socialist" of them.

Also, the health insurance industry's alternative is HDHP+HSA/HRA. If you do some searched for those things, you'll find out some sneaky things happening with that insurance.

If dittoheads actually talked

If dittoheads actually talked to their neighbors, they'd have no trouble finding plenty of examples of Americans denied coverage, Americans waiting for pre-approval to see a specialist, and Americans living with medical conditions without treatment because they can't afford to see a doctor.

There are no serious "socialist" proposals for health care reform in America. Socialist means government-owned, and no one is suggesting that the federal government buy up all the hospitals and medical clinics to run directly.

Personally, I *am* a little skeptical of this idea of a "public option," although it might put downward pressure on prices. I'd prefer an employer-based coverage mandate: "Play or pay." You'd could actually get the health insurance companies to support a plan that mandated coverage like that.

I'm 100% for a broad based

I'm 100% for a broad based mandate, and one with real teeth, combined with a public system.

I don't know what their public system will be like, but, one model that hasn't been discussed much (but could be pushed) is to make public health insurance a little like public school -- a community-based system with some community groups plugged into it.

I'm not that into the idea of employer based care. Because of the industry I'm in, a portable insurance would be nicer -- different companies offer different health insurance, and moving from one to another is a big problem.

A lot of people are portending that a public option would turn into "medi-cal" instead of "medicare", but, in my limited experience, there are many freelancers, workers in dynamic industries (where people switch companies), small businesses, construction workers, subcontractors, and others who really need portable benefits that work not only when they're "gigging" but also when they enter and leave the traditional workforce. For them, a single government health plan that was decent, widely accepted, portable between self-employment, virtual companies, startups, and traditional employment, and could be augmented with additional private insurance, would be attractive.

These people generally earn from the low 30k to the low six-figures. They're basically middle class, tend to be educated, but also tend to be under-insured and at risk of falling out of insurance.

The fact is, there are a lot of people today who change companies every few years. During the move, health insurance coverage is disrupted. People end up re-tested for all their maladies. They risk denial of coverage for preexisting conditions. They need something portable.

While there is a bill that really pushes for portable benefits, I don't think it's a good idea. It seems to be grandstanding, and not a serious law that could stand a chance of passing. It's a Republican counterpart to the Democrat's Single Payer bill.

What I think is that a public option that's portable could work for a lot of people, and with democratic feedback, could really improve things for a big segment of society. Even if it's not portable now (I think it's not because the employer has an option to offer it), it could be reformed so it's made portable because it's the public health insurance.

Obama Meltdown

Well, it looks like the public option is dying.

A bunch of progressive dems are threatening to vote against 3200 if there's no public option. More power to them.

This isn't a one-shot fight. It'll go on for years.