Okay, it’s good that the US Senate finally approved some improvements to healthcare in the country (although of course since the House of Representatives only approved a much weaker version, it’s unlikely that the Senate bill will ever actually become law).
The bill would extend health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured, covering 94 per cent of all Americans, and halt industry practices such as refusing insurance to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
But while Democrats are celebrating that “victory”, it’s probably worth standing back and asking: why only 94%?
Who are the 6% of Americans, the eighteen-and-a-half million people (almost the population of Australia) who would not have health coverage, even under the strongest version of the Bill? How is it that the most “progressive” of the parties in that country can proudly trumpet “94%” as if it isn’t an obvious failure?
UPDATE: I don’t know why I was optimistic even about the Senate bill. They’ve abandoned a “public option”, too. And their version, according to Howard Dean, is actually about forcing people to join the private health insurers:
“You will now be forced to buy insurance. If you don’t, you’ll pay a fine,” said Dean, a physician. “It’s an insurance company bailout.” Interviewed on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” he said the bill has some good provisions, “but there has to be a line beyond which you think the bill is bad for the country.”
“This is an insurance company’s dream,” the former Democratic presidential candidate said. “This is the Washington scramble, and it’s a shame.”
That country is broken.