I have an excellent health-care plan.
As long as I don’t get sick.
Like most Mainers, I find medical appointments to be an expensive luxury I can afford only if I don’t make them. To that end, I do my best to avoid my doctor, because interactions with the health-care community produce all sorts of unpleasant consequences: diets, exercise regimens, prescription medications with weird side effects, suggestions that I zip my lip and listen to expert advice for a change. And bills.
I prefer a laissez faire approach. If something hurts, I just ignore it until it goes away.
Which is pretty much the Republican plan for replacing Obamacare.
Strangely enough, that’s also the Democrats’ plan for upgrading it. If we leave everything the way it is, the disagreeable parts will work themselves out
And they say bipartisanship is dead.
Unfortunately, GOP U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, having provided one of the crucial votes to defeat her party’s repeated efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, now wants to make all sorts of improvements to that law. She insists these tweaks will allow almost everyone to receive quality medical services.
Even those of us who’d prefer never to have another prostate exam as long as we live.
Collins, independent U.S. Sen. Angus King and Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree all believe we can fix the health-care system the same way we repaired the education system: by throwing money at it. If this worked, I’d have gotten such quality schooling in economics that I’d now be capable of understanding why it costs so damn much to go to the doctor. But it didn’t, and I don’t.
In my confusion, I’m in much the same boat as Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin. In 2015, Poliquin surprised his party by voting against repealing Obamacare. He later explained that decision by saying he wouldn’t ax the existing law until “we have a plan in place, a glide path, to a new fiscally responsible and sustainable solution.” He then announced he’d be hiding in his office until somebody came up with that solution.
Poliquin emerged briefly earlier this year to vote in favor of the House version of reform, which we’re not supposed to call Trumpcare. When that measure got a negative reaction from the public, millions of whom would lose their coverage under it, the 2nd District congressman again locked himself in his office and hasn’t been heard from since.
So, something good came out of all this.
Meanwhile, Collins has been hard at work crafting a viable alternative that has been embraced by both Republicans and Democrats and is being widely hailed as the obvious path out of this conundrum.
Mostly, Maine’s senior senator has been spending her time appearing on TV news shows, where she says stirring stuff like, “I’m troubled by the uncertainty that has been created by the administration” and “I don’t think it is a good approach to replacing legislation.” What she hasn’t been doing is promoting the plan she developed several months ago with Louisiana U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy that would have kinda, sorta shifted around bits and pieces of the ACA in ways that would have caused some people to lose coverage, but not nearly as many as in most GOP plans, while also retaining enough parts of the original law to make it unacceptable to conservatives. To date, support for her plan has been limited to herself, Cassidy and a kid on Facebook with four likes.
Amidst all this turmoil, it appears all parties are overlooking the real problem. Which is:
Everybody wants quality health care, but everybody also wants somebody else to foot the bill.
Why nobody has drafted a bill mandating this is beyond me. All that’s required is to build a new medical system, and get the Canadians to pay for it.
Or we could try an approach a doctor once proposed to me. Weary of my repeatedly ignoring his advice about diet and exercise, he wrote a prescription for some medication with an unpronounceable name. “Take one of these pills every morning,” he said. “And call me in 10 years.”
By then, he’d retired.
And the pills turned out to be placebos.