Mike Barnicle has been making this argument about getting health care reform done now:

This summer, all over the country families are sitting down to decide what they want to do on vacation – maybe they want to go out to dinner once a week, or spend a weekend at the water park. And they have this same conversation – CAN WE AFFORD IT? And they don’t understand why the government isn’t asking the same question.

The answer is easy – health care is not a night out at the movies. It is not a family dinner. It is not a weekend at the water park. The analogy is false.

No – the mess that is health insurance and health care in this country is the ruptured sewer pipe spewing raw sewage into your basement. It’s the roof that’s sprung so many leaks you’re spending money to repair the water damage every time it rains – or dealing with the mold. It’s your son’s diagnosis of bone cancer.

When those things happen, families don’t sit around the table asking “Can we afford this?” If they ask anything beyond “Who do we call to fix this?” it’s HOW can we afford this? What do we go without to make sure this doesn’t destroy us? What sacrifices do we make to do the things that need to be done to keep a roof over our head, the shit out of the basement and our children alive and healthy?

And the sacrifice we are being asked to pay by most of these bills is a simple one – man up and buy health insurance. Take personal responsibility to make sure that you and your family are covered by health insurance and in turn, we will do this:

– we will make the insurance companies agree to cover every single person who applies for health insurance

– we will make it illegal for the health insurance companies to make you pay more for your health insurance because you have a pre-existing condition

– we will make it illegal for them to take away your insurance for any reason other than non-payment of premiums or outright, provable fraud

– we will set standards of care for your health insurance companies to follow

– we will set standards of administration that your health insurance companies must meet

– we will make sure that the care you get is the best practice in medicine so that when you pay for health care, you will be getting health care that actually works

– we will provide subsidies for those who cannot afford to pay for health insurance

– we will provide competition for the private health insurance companies so that they have to cut their costs and charge you less money

A health care reform bill that contains an individual and an employer mandate but does not include a public option – or an EQUALLY EFFECTIVE mechanism for containing costs is a giveaway – but it doesn’t change the basic fact that health care reform is something that needs doing… it’s not rocket surgery, folks. It’s just what it is.


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