Friday, March 19, 2010

Ready to roll the dice on health care reform

So, it's come down to this.

More than a year after the political bickering began, a massive health care reform package is set for some kind of vote Sunday.

And while the legislation isn't perfect (Note: Understatement of the year award nominee), Second Thoughts is willing to roll the dice. But it's no off-the-cuff endorsement.

Let's start by acknowledging plenty in this bill could not work as planned or cost way, way more than its estimates. Remember, we're talking about the same federal government that thought this was a good idea.

But we also know that health care costs are rising dramatically and — driven by ennumerable factors — will continue to balloon if some type of serious change is not brought to our health care system. (BTW, if you have two hours and want the best expose of health system problems I've heard in 14 months, check out these two audio reports from Chicago Public Radio's "This American Life.")

Now, what we've got floating around the House of Representatives and Senate aren't really the far-reaching overhauls they're made out to be. Both retain the basic structure of our current system — they just tweak it a bit and try to make improvements where politically possible.

But from all I can gather, there's enough that's positive about this legislation — such as eliminating pre-existing conditions as factors for denying insurance, ending the practice of recission and trying to make sure families aren't bankrupted by a year of out-of-control medical costs — to outweigh its numerous flaws.

Basically, it boils down to this:

We're screwed if we don't do something. We're probably screwed if we do do something. This is the first time in ages that we've come this close to fixing some serious flaws with our clearly dysfunctional health care system. And the solutions being offered, while not perfect and probably expensive, could help millions of real people and businesses.

From my current perspective, those odds are good enough to give it a go.

Maybe that's my natural optimism getting the best of me when I should be more cynical. But I hope, at least on that last thought, that I'm wrong.

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