Sen. Tom Harkin continues to refer to the Senate health reform bill as a “starter home” in a new entry on the Huffington Post.
Instead of that “partial loaf” analogy,
I like to think of this bill as like a starter home. It is not the
mansion of our dreams. But it has a solid foundation, giving every
American access to quality, affordable coverage. It has an excellent,
protective roof, which will shelter Americans from the worst abuses of
health insurance companies. And this starter home has plenty of room
for additions and improvements.
This bill has a terrible foundation.
It is a starter home built with the equivalent of toxic drywall, lead
paint, a poorly mixed cement foundation, and faulty electric wiring.
The bill is built on the extremely wasteful and inefficient private insurance system
and contains one of the biggest rollbacks in decades of women’s
reproductive rights. It, in effect, gives a permanent exclusivity to
expensive biologics, and still denies Americans the ability to buy
cheaper drugs from overseas. It has insufficient regulations and leaves
the regulator enforcement purely up to the states, which have a poor
track record enforcing the current regulations on their books.
Regulation without enforcement is worthless. It throws good money after
bad without fixing the underlying problems. The cost of the insurance
will be too high and the quality of the insurance is too low. Funneling
billions of dollars and forcing millions of Americans to buy a product
that is frankly a terrible bargain is not a good foundation to build
on. It is only a good foundation for the private insurance companies
because it further enriches and entrenches them. Rewarding the failure
of the private health insurance system with even more money and more
customers is not how you want to build your “starter home.”
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Harkin is definitely correct when he says, “a starter home has
plenty of room for additions and improvements.” There are many, many,
many problems with this bill that need to be corrected. Unfortunately,
no one is going to want to put additions on a terribly built home, and
no one is going to want to rehire the same contractor that so
completely botched the construction of the home to build the addition.
I would love it if this were a smaller home, but built with a sturdy
In reality, what we have is a massive corporate giveaway that will serve to discredit the “progressive” principles
that Harkin falsely claims this thing is built on. Teddy Roosevelt was
the progressive trust buster. It makes a mockery of the term
“progressive” to claim a plan to force Americans to buy expensive,
low-quality goods from insurance companies exempt form anti-trust laws
(laws that Roosevelt championed) and subsidized with taxpayer money is
in anyway “progressive.”
Jon Walker's original post can be found at Firedoglake.