I don’t always agree with Camile Paglia, but I always find her perspective and writing interesting. But when discussing the House passed health care bill, she hits the nail on the head:
As for the actual content of the House healthcare bill, horrors! Where to begin? That there are serious deficiencies and injustices in the U.S. healthcare system has been obvious for decades. To bring the poor and vulnerable into the fold has been a high ideal and an urgent goal for most Democrats. But this rigid, intrusive and grotesquely expensive bill is a nightmare. Holy Hygeia, why can’t my fellow Democrats see that the creation of another huge, inefficient federal bureaucracy would slow and disrupt the delivery of basic healthcare and subject us all to a labyrinthine mass of incompetent, unaccountable petty dictators? Massively expanding the number of healthcare consumers without making due provision for the production of more healthcare providers means that we’re hurtling toward a staggering logjam of de facto rationing. Steel yourself for the deafening screams from the careerist professional class of limousine liberals when they get stranded for hours in the jammed, jostling anterooms of doctors’ offices. They’ll probably try to hire Caribbean nannies as ringers to do the waiting for them.
A second issue souring me on this bill is its failure to include the most common-sense clause to increase competition and drive down prices: portability of health insurance across state lines. What covert business interests is the Democratic leadership protecting by stopping consumers from shopping for policies nationwide? Finally, no healthcare bill is worth the paper it’s printed on when the authors ostentatiously exempt themselves from its rules. The solipsistic members of Congress want us peons to be ground up in the communal machine, while they themselves gambol on in the flowering meadow of their own lavish federal health plan. Hypocrites!
And why are we even considering so gargantuan a social experiment when the nation is struggling to emerge from a severe recession? It’s as if liberals are starry-eyed dreamers lacking the elementary ability to project or predict the chaotic and destabilizing practical consequences of their utopian fantasies.
Paglia then turns to criticizing the GOP:
Republicans, on the other hand, have basically sat on their asses about healthcare reform for the past 20 years and have shown little interest in crafting legislative solutions to social inequities. The usual GOP floater about private medical savings accounts is a crock — something that, given the astronomical costs of major medical crises, would be utterly unworkable for families of even average household income.
It’s certainly fair game to fault Republicans for failing to be proactive on health care, but her criticism of medical savings accounts seems to be based on a misunderstanding. Medical savings accounts (MSAs) are coupled with high deductible insurance, so in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury, the insurance would kick in and protect a family from financial ruin.
What MSAs do are making you vested in using money wisely. I used to have an MSA and I would actually question doctors about tests they were thinking of running and telling them no if I thought it made no sense. Before people start responding about the problematic incentives that this creates for individuals focused solely on saving money (causing them to forgo preventative care), I believe that my annual check up and some other routine care was covered by the high deductible insurance policy. More importantly, as a patient, I did have an incentive to go to the doctor when I needed to, both because I valued my health and because I didn’t want to incur more expenses down the road.
But even if Paglia is mistaken on MSAs, she then goes on to call for inter-state purchase of health insurance. Overall it’s a piece well worth reading in its entirety (for some reason, I’m unable to provide the link but it’s available on Salon.com).