America’s partisan debate about healthcare reform is like a couple who lives together and has a recurring argument about what to do with a crazy uncle who lives with them.
Crazy Uncle has a habit of robbing — and sometimes harming — people in the couple’s neighborhood.
One of the partners suggests addressing the problem by moving to a different neighborhood. Crazy Uncle has a problem with that idea since he doesn’t want to move.
The other partner thinks the best solution is to make the neighbors move. Or give them helmets. Or perhaps give them no protection and let a few more robberies and beatdowns convince them to move.
The ideas make no sense.
Moving Crazy Uncle to another neighborhood only displaces the problem, but never solves it.
Making neighbors move is a ridiculous idea.
The helmet idea isn’t much better.
And the couple continues to argue while Crazy (and greedy) Uncle continues to rob neighbors.
The problem is Crazy Uncle. Any solution that doesn’t directly deal with Crazy Uncle isn’t really a solution.
Crazy Uncle is also rich — obviously from all the strong-arming he’s done — and pays the couple large sums of money to stay with them. You could say Crazy Uncle takes good care of the couple. This explains why the couple will argue for days about what to do about “the problem” but never point a finger at Crazy Uncle.
Democrats and Republicans have done an incredibly agile job of presenting their arguments for or against Obamacare without mentioning Crazy Uncle: the health insurance companies.
Other industrialized nations don’t experience this sort of robbery — known to Americans as excessive healthcare costs — because these countries didn’t allow Crazy Uncle to serve as the middleman between patients and doctors.
But directly dealing with the problem of Crazy Uncle would mean disintermediation: implementing single-payer, universal healthcare for all Americans. The public option would be a compromise.
Instead, we keep hearing solutions like health exchanges, interstate competition and elimination of coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions.
And we have Crazy Uncle to thank for this. He paid more than half a billion dollars in 2016 amongst the two major political parties so that neither side discusses disintermediation.
This means the current Congressional debate you’ve been witnessing is nothing but theater.
I think it’s time to show Crazy Uncle the door. And while we’re at it, let’s have a public talk with Congress about the top-shelf healthcare plan they receive …
song currently stuck in my head: “brotherhood” – kamal abdul alim