Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good doesn't come without pain

Granted, reset can be the most difficult command button to find. Usually it's hidden. Like on my wireless router. It's flush against the back, so it's difficult to find. It is marked though. And, most importantly, it's there for me to use when my service is clogged and no information, or jarred information, is being carried.

Today, Senator Joseph Lieberman admitted
that he essentially played an ideologically based hand in this Congressional poker game by, in a mere 48 hours, single-handedly ending the last possibility of a government health insurance alternative for American health consumers. He might have necessitated the Senate and President Obama finding the reset button on health care reform. The information in this reform process has become jarred and the integrity of Congressional health reform, that aligns with the spirit of true Modern Progressivism, has been lost if this course is maintained by the U.S. Senate.

I am not necessarily for a single-payer health care system. I do not believe that a forced market is an appropriate means to both control cost and access fairly and efficiently. I am a firm believer, however that in order for any marketplace to provide consumers with the most information and fair access to a good, while maintaining relative equality in quality and price, that marketplace must continue to grow have as many alternatives as possible.

Ironically, this is not fundamental departure from principles of conservative socio-political economics. It was the Gipper himself who once said that, "Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things. It is the continuous revolution of the marketplace. It is the understanding that allows to recognize shortcomings and seek solutions." Our progression as a nation, and as a national economy is dependent upon our ability to question the economic marketplace we maintain as consumers and producers and investors, supporting its integrity, while nurturing its growth and evolution. Evolution, or continuous revolution, occurs through an introduction of new alternatives, new elements, that move that which is evolving into a new stage, a more productive and secure stage. Survival is dependent on the successful adoption and integration of those new alternatives.

Our health care system will not survive if the correct elements are not put into place, forcing its evolution. I was dismayed with the Senate Democrat's willingness to concede on many critical points of a healthcare reform bill that their House counterparts did not. A large part of it is due to the Senate's nature, so it is to be expected. In the end, I found that they made a great concession, moving to expand Medicare coverage for 55-64 year olds. Unfortunately, this has now been moved to the legislative chopping block because it is "one step closer to a single payer system," according to Mr. Lierberman. In reality, it would be, just as a public option would be, another alternative within the health care marketplace. In fact, it would expand the ability to that alternative to exact a degree of buying power and consumer advocacy impact. In itself, an expansion of Medicare as a publicly supported option would be a cost-control mechanism as well as an efficient manner to ensure access.

Somehow, the idea of expanding health care through providing an alternative within a market has been framed as a disadvantage to all taxpaying Americans. Rhetorically it makes no sense to me, and economically it is a clear lie. Our entire economic system, in every industry, has relied solely on the power of American consumers to speak effectively and collectively with their resources. When no one bought the Delorean, the Delorean failed and had to leave the marketplace. When no one bought HD DVD's, they ceased being made. The critical point that spelled defeat for these two goods that were made in completely different eras, but both suffered from high costs and poor relative quality (much like modern american health care as a whole), was the presence of alternatives within the marketplace that consumers could use instead. An alternative that is of better quality and is not as cost-prohibitive (i.e.--Ford Mustang, Blu-Ray DVDs). No such alternative exists within our health system, and that is the system's fundamental fault. It's now also what this so-called reform is moving towards NOT addressing head on.

The reset button is on the right-hand side Senators.

- Big Boi, from the monmentally, life affirming and changing "Speakerboxxx". This song used to ride in my Powder Blue Astro Van through Illinois' cornfields with Love and Hope.


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