Senator Baucus: Make them eat cake

Dear Patrician Overlords: When speaking to Congress, please try to resist the urge to adjust your spectacles, monocle or opera glasses. It only reminds us.

Dear Patrician Overlords: When speaking to Congress, please resist the urge to adjust your monocle, opera glasses or other eyepiece. It only reminds us.

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT, go Griz) unveiled his long-awaited health care reform proposal this morning, after a year of personal reflection and more than three months of wrangling with a small group of Democratic and Republican Senators. If you’ve got twenty or so hours to spare, you can read the full text of the bill here. The Finance Committee chairman’s plan is bipartisan in the sense that it is the product of his discussions with Republican Senators Chuck Grassley, Mike Enzi and Olympia Snowe, and not so bipartisan in the sense that they’ve all refused to endorse it. For his part, Grassley is still concerned about the two most important issues facing elderly white men who live in central Iowa: abortion and immigrants. “There are still some serious outstanding issues that have yet to be resolved,” Grassley said in a public statement. “Like preventing taxpayer funding of abortion services and the enforcement against subsidies for illegal aliens.” While Baucus’s legislation, like all other proposed health reform bills, expressly forbids federal funding of coverage for illegal aliens, Grassley does not feel that the wording is strong enough. He also wants to include a five-year waiting period before legal immigrants can be eligible for federal subsidies, as part of America’s longstanding Mow My Lawn and Then Get the Hell Off My Property policy.

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Town hall meetings and The Crank Factor

A person who would clearly not benefit from any sort of government-subsidized care.

A person who would clearly not benefit from any sort of government-subsidized service.

I’m lucky—I was one of the two hundred fifty million-or-so Americans who had health insurance for the last few years. My employer gave me full coverage through Aetna, which was a good thing because I broke my right hand in March of 2007, then dislocated my shoulder six months later. Thanks to my comprehensive, private health care insurance, I only had to spend $14,700 on doctor bills that year. Initially it was about forty-five thousand dollars more, but after I filed my third appeal Aetna paid right away. It was really good timing, actually, because the New York State Insurance Board was scheduled to rule on my case the next day, and you know what the line at a government office is like.

So I can understand why people would be against health insurance reform. Sure, the system we have now is demonstrably predatory, has simultaneously increased public costs and private profits, and ranks behind Morocco’s but just ahead of Slovenia’s. But a government-subsidized alternative might be, you know, worse. Can you prove that it wouldn’t? Such is the reasoning of the opponents of health insurance reform, who have switched in recent weeks from arguing over proposed solutions to arguing against solutions in general. The result is a series of baffling photographs like the one above, as—for what I’m pretty sure is the first time in history—Americans rise up to demand that government not provide them with services.

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