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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Health Policy Day 

As promised, the big policy issue of the day.

Those crazy Mass-holes have done it again. A bill passed the State Legislature yesterday that requires all residents to purchase health insurance, the same way that all car owners have to have car insurance. I'm all for universal coverage, but I think this law will be a disaster.

First of all, the reason that people don't have insurance, for the most part, is that they cannot afford it. Why on Earth do you need to penalize them (additionally) for being poor? It seems totally unnecessary: if you're offering subsidized coverage, people will take it. As long as they know about it - that's the rub - why not just auto-enroll everyone?

Second, of course Romney is gonna veto the bit that requires employers to provide coverage - I think it's an unworkable provision as well for a number of reasons, but "protecting businesses" isn't one. This too seems excessive; shouldn't the subsidized plans take care of that anyways?

Finally, this law doesn't strike me as likely to pass court reviews. The mandatory nature will make it a target on many fronts (due process, privacy, etc...some help from the lawyers here?), and I imagine that it'll have to be scrapped and rewritten a few times.

This law seems like every other "bipartisan" health care effort we've seen: overly complicated and too vested in special considerations (aka interests) to be useful. But it's some movement and radical enough to maybe make people start thinking, and so we'll see what happens.

Also noted: the GAO has caught on to a bit of the stupidity of the Bush regime's AIDS plan, and is taking BushCo to task on the abstinence programs requirement. The GAO report focuses on funding diverted to abstinence programs from other things, like condom distribution and mother-child transmission prevention, but, unfortunately, doesn't seem to mention the proven inefficacy of abstinence programs. I'm still waiting for the GAO report on those. But still, every little bit helps, right?

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