I was really hoping to blog about anything other than the healthcare bill this week, but as a card-carrying member of the blogosphere with a healthcare-related theme, it seems that I must. I just wish I had something good to say about it.
Well, I do have one good thing. Whether you’re a member of the pink-ribbon tribe, like I am, or have joined the ranks of those with pre-existing conditions for some other ailment, the good news is insurance companies can no longer deny us coverage (although we have to wait four years for that feature to kick in. So here’s hoping all of us with insurance through our employers keep our jobs.)
The biggest reason I don’t feel like I have much good to say is because I hated the tone of the debate, both leading up to the vote and now. I think it’s a stretch to even call it a debate. People shouting past each other and degenerating to name calling is not debate. Threats and vandalism (one might even argue terrorism) are not debate.
There’s plenty of guilt to go around–from you and me to the media to Congress itself. Whatever happened to reaching across the aisle to actually get something done? Instead, too much emphasis seems to be on making the other side lose. The best take I saw on this “win at all costs” mentality was at one of my favorite blogs, MD Whistleblower. Dr. Kirsch got the point across way better than I could. Let the spinning begin.
Another one of my favorite blogs is Musings of A Distractible Mind, and Dr. Rob (also an M.D.) summed it up pretty neatly when he called the process a national embarrassment in his excellent “Rearranging Chairs” post. He also reminded us the new bill is neither Armegeddon nor Nirvana, contrary to what you might think depending on whether your taste runs to Fox News or MSNBC. He raised a very important point; that the bill doesn’t do anything to address the huge issue of rising costs. (Incidentally, so did Warren Buffett–perhaps you’ve heard of him.)
I love reading these guys because, news junkie that I am, I get tired of talking heads in the media and the Beltway. I want to hear from the people in the trenches who are living this every day. Dr. Kirsch and Dr. Rob have shed as much light on this complex topic as anyone, and in some cases much more.