THIS CATHOLIC’S VIEW
By Thomas J. Reese, S.J.
Watching Washington debate health care reform is a depressing experience. President Obama has laid out the principles necessary for reform–covering the uninsured and paying for it through cost reductions–but has not proposed specific legislative language to perform this miracle.
Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats are proposing immediate expansions of coverage with promises of cost savings in the future. Republicans are playing spoiler: pointing out the flaws in the Democratic plans while not proposing anything useful.
The problem is that voters prefer lies to truth. Doctors still believe that they should be treated like gods with offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Hospitals want to continue business as usual but just be given more money. Patients want a doctor with Welby’s charm and McCoy’s technology. Oh, yes, and it is to be cheap with no government regulations or insurance forms.
Health care reform, like dieting, is painful. Anyone who tells you differently is lying. It requires a change in expectations and life style. The only reason to do it is because we have no choice, just as we have to leave behind the gas-guzzling SUV’s and cigarettes. Obama is right, we cannot afford the status quo with health care costs increasing as a percentage of the GNP while fewer people are insured.
While Washington debates health care, another study reports that obesity may have cost the health care system $147 billion in 2008. Now if Republicans really believed in the marketplace, they would propose charging fat people more for health insurance. Same for smokers, gun owners, and heavy drinkers. Liberals, on the other hand, believe that education and public service ads will convert these folks into abstemious anorexics who are only addicted to exercise.
Is depression covered by this plan? Where is my happy pill?
By Thomas J. Reese |
July 28, 2009; 2:33 PM ET
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