Reform - A Tragedy
A year ago, my friends who work on Wall Street said to me, "Wall Street will never be the same. This has been a shock to the system."
My response - I've seen this show before. We had the Savings and Loan, we had junk bonds, we had Long Term Capital, we had Enron. Every few years, some new Wall Street instrument turns out to be legal, but utterly destructive. So they ban it, and Wall Street invents a new way to initially make money, and then destroy it. The system will never be the same again? I've seen this movie before, and the only thing that will change will be the cast and the details. But the plot is always the same.
So let me make a prediction on healthcare reform. A bill will be passed, one way or another. Due to the special interests that have written this bill and influenced both parties, no "cost cutting measures" will be truly effective. Congress will mandate coverage of pre-existing conditions and many more people will have insurance coverage, which is a good thing. However, with no real cost cutting, insurance companies will skyrocket premiums, arguing that Congress forced them to provide all that new coverage. That the insurance companies wrote the laws will be forgotten.
Opponents of reform will argue that it was an abject failure due to skyrocketing costs. That these opponents of reform prevented cost-cutting measures to pass will be forgotten.
The people will complain that they wanted healthcare reform and cost cutting and instead, they got increased premiums and healthcare costs even more. That they, too, were supposedly opposed to healthcare reform and wanted no government intervention to contain costs will, too, be forgotten.
What will not be forgotten, by those who have tried to promote true healthcare reform, will be that they were painted as the enemy, they were maligned, and they were blamed for the outcome when the mob, influenced by special interests, attacked them for their efforts. What will not be forgotten is that trying to reform healthcare is a losing political position and it's not worth risking one's neck.
So we will have to wait. We will have to wait for a complete collapse of the healthcare system. At that point, there will not really be the money to clean things up, but plenty of blame to go around.
And in a catastrophic meltdown of healthcare, you might expect that real reform will then be possible. And if you believe that one, just look at the "reform" that's occurred on Wall Street following their meltdown.
I don't know exactly how this story ends, and I don't pretend to know which details of the various plans will work and which will not. But what I do know is that the politicization of this discussion, the hysteria, the lobbying money, and the abject ignorance of The People in buying into all the politics, hysteria, and the best propaganda money can buy, resulted in the destruction of all rational thinking and analysis. We will all be the worse off for that sad outcome.