I first recall hearing about Dennis Kucinich during a presidential debate a few years back, I believe during the John Kerry catastrophe. At the time, I remember thinking that, of all the major party candidates, he seemed to be the most independently minded. I haven’t really followed his career, to speak of, once he fell out of the running that year (which genuinely independently minded candidates always do.) But apparently, he’s managed to maintain a seat in the House of Representatives for Ohio to this day.
Earlier this morning, I ran across this piece, a self-penned explanation for why Kucinich was one of the few House Democrats who voted no on the recent health care overhaul bill. He makes some pretty cogent points, I think, like recognizing that the for-profit insurance companies are the problem, not the solution, and the disconnect between the high-finance economy of Wall Street and the real economy of Main Street and how that influence plays into legislation like this. I have made no secret of my dislike for this effort at health care reform for many of the same reasons Kucinich has cited.
To me, it’s a giant give-away to insurance company interests and investors, and I don’t see how it controls costs. Plus, I cringe every time I see a supporter of the bill state that it “extends coverage” to however many million people they’re saying it does today. I don’t believe a law that forces people who otherwise can’t afford it to buy insurance at the point of a gun qualifies as “extending coverage.”
I’ve read many of the proposals being sent around, and much about the bill that just passed, and I honestly don’t see anything that people like me will get out of it other than the threat of a giant fine for non-compliance and some vague assurances that, if I qualify, I can get government subsidies in the form of future tax credits. That’s great and all, but it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t have the money to pay for it today. What good is a tax credit going to be? I’m not the government; when I run a little short, I can’t just print up more money in my basement and worry about recouping it later. This bill will force me to choose between paying a fine or buying insurance in lieu of food, shelter, clothing, heat, etc. And that’s not even mentioning whether or not any of the mythical cost controls actually will work, which I don’t think they will. What happens when premiums spike as a result of this?
But that’s my opinion based on what I’ve read and seen. Over the next little while, I plan on presenting some other points of view on this matter. Something as complex as this, there are always numerous angles and possibilities that make up the whole. I, for one, am very interested in other points of view. I may or may not agree, but I almost always take something away from well-reasoned discussions. Keep watching, and most of all, stay informed.