Monday, February 01, 2010

If You Weren't Poor You Wouldn't Have Gotten Sick In The First Place

We're coming to you today from the Odd Headline Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central. OHD is a division of the Excuse Me? Corporation, a wholly owned subsidy of WTF!?!! Inc.

So, we're on our way to the comics section this morning to get us in the mood for reading the news. Dilbert stokes our existential dread long enough to get through the rest of the paper without resorting to adult beverages. Anyway, before we could even get to the Wizard of Id we run across this:

States seeking to ban mandatory health insurance

Hmm...thinks us, that's rather unusual. Even given the intellectual acumen of most state legislators today, it has been our impression that doing outright harm to the residents is, in most cases, a bug not a feature. Our curiosity piqued, we read on:

Although President Barack Obama's push for a health care overhaul has stalled, conservative lawmakers in about half the states are forging ahead with constitutional amendments to ban government health insurance mandates. "There's over 40 million people in this country without health insurance," said one state legislator. "You know what will happen to the republican party if they all get healthy enough to vote?"

The proposals would assert a state-based right for people to pay medical bills from their own pocketbooks and prohibit penalties against those who refuse to carry health insurance. Additionally, people who can't pay, or lack insurance altogether will be required to go someplace out of sight to die.

The moves reflect the continued political potency of the issue for conservatives, who have used it extensively for fundraising and attracting new supporters. "Hey, doctors make money off sick people, why can't we," said a Virginia legislator.

Legislative committees in Idaho and Virginia endorsed their measures this past week. Supporters held a rally at the Pennsylvania Capitol. And hearings on the proposed constitutional amendments were held in Georgia and Missouri. The Missouri hearing drew overflow crowds. "There's a reason Missouri's the 7th fattest state in the union and 38th when it comes to overall health," said Clint Bolick, the constitutional litigation director at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix. "I don't think they want Washington meddling to jeopardize their rankings."

"These amendments are a way to manifest grass roots opposition" to federal health insurance mandates, Bolick said. "And they're especially popular among republican supporters who are used to voting against their own best interests."

Separate bills passed by the U.S. House and Senate would impose a penalty on people who don't have health insurance except in cases of financial hardship. Subsidies would be provided to low-income and middle-income households. The intent of the mandate is to expand the pool of people who are insured and paying premiums and thus offset the increased costs of insuring those with preexisting conditions or other risks.

"Poor people getting help with their insurance bills leading to better medical care. Is that the kind of America you want to live in?" asked a state legislator.

"We need to move ahead no matter what kind of maneuvering continues in Washington, D.C.," said Missouri Sen. Jane Cunningham, a Republican from suburban St. Louis. "If we don't we're liable to wake up some morning and find out everybody's covered. How we going to beat Mississippi for most unhealthy state then huh?"

"They are merely symbolic gestures," said Michael Dorf, a constitutional law professor at Cornell University. "If this Congress were to pass an individual mandate, and if it is constitutional — which I believe it is — the express rule under the supremacy clause (of the U.S. Constitution) is that the federal law prevails. The states will just have to find some other way to keep poor people from getting good health care. I suggest all sorts of eligibility requirements like they do with abortion. That should keep them out of the system long enough that it will be too late to do anything for them once they have filled out all the forms."


Seeing Eye Chick said...

Okay I cannot even act surprised knowing intimately the Party of D'oh like I do:

"I suggest all sorts of eligibility requirements like they do with abortion. That should keep them out of the system long enough that it will be too late to do anything for them once they have filled out all the forms."

Okay that is just funny, except for the fact that it's true. Maybe they should require ultrasounds of tumors so that patient can see the heartbeat and then decide, after a psych eval and an extensive 20 page questionnair that will be published online.

Anonymous said...

Forty million people uninsured?
You'd think we were raising our own terrorists.

scripto said...

Best post eveh!