The Public Option is Irreducibly Complex

The flagellum evolved. The Public Option can't.

On a scale of 1–10, the health care reform bills currently in Congress are about a 2. They accomplish very little reform. They get rid of the pre-existing condition exclusion and little else.

This is because the Democrats suck at governance.

And politics.

And consensus-building.

And using the fleeting momentum they had.

And even being aware that they are in the majority.

So now we’re stuck with reform-that-isn’t. That means we won’t get another shot at this again until 2050. Way to go, Democrats!

One thing in this disaster stands out: The non-functioning “public option”.

First of all, anything short of single-payer Canadian-style health care isn’t true reform. Everything else is just slapping a new coat of paint on a decaying corpse.

In order to have any effect at all on the cost of health care, the compromise-that-isn’t (i.e., the “public option”) would had to have been a strong, robust plan that anybody could join without restriction. Even then, it would only nudge the cost of the private plans down a bit.

Southwest Airlines has had some influence in keeping the fares of the other airlines a bit lower, but you don’t see United and Delta running the same rates. Plus, the Southwest effect doesn’t even come into play on routes they don’t fly.

The current version of the public option is so weak and restricted and useless, that very few people will sign up for it. It isn’t even Southwest Airlines on a couple of routes. It’s City Airlines, or as Tuong Lu Kim says: “Thank you for flying Shitty Airlines”.

The Democrats flying health care reform into the ground.

A robust public option is irreducibly complex! You can’t take parts out of it and still expect it to function.

As things stand now, we won’t even get what tiny bit of reform the health care bill can bring us, because the non-functional public option can’t pass the Senate.

Get rid of it.

And thank you for flying with the Shitty Party.

10 Responses to “The Public Option is Irreducibly Complex”

  1. Tiger Says:

    I’ve seen a number of these posts over the past two days, all lacking in details. Can you be a little more specific?

  2. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Although I agree that reform is at about a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, I disagree with not passing anything. Getting rid of the pre-existing condition clause is absolutely huge and will, alone, save millions of lives.

    I also have to take issue with the blanket “Democrats” statement. The majority of Democrats agree with you, me, and other hard-line progressives. However, when you take into account the Blue Dogs in the House and the Conservadems in the Senate, suddenly the Democrats no longer have a majority. What can you do? If Republicans + crappy Democrats > Progressive Democrats, complaining about the party as a whole doesn’t help.

    So what do we do? Elect more progressive Democrats. I have personally donated several hundred dollars this year despite the economy to progressive primary contenders against crappy Democrats (and Joe Lieberman).

    Even a crappy bill can be improved over time. The original Social Security bill was pretty weak compared to what we have now.

    Don’t admit defeat. Get what we can get passed (yes, I agree with Bill Clinton that anything is better than nothing). Elect better liberals (MOST IMPORTANT)! Improve the bills over time.

    Plus, do everything you can to get Sarah Palin as the Republican presidential nominee in ’12. ;-)

  3. Thomas Says:

    You would, perhaps, prefer the Republicans so that we can have universal corporate welfare, no healthcare whatsoever and a federal mandate to teach creationism in schools?

  4. K-Fed Says:

    I don’t like how healthcare has turned into a market debate. Even operating under Perfect competition, people would still be set up to lose if their company went under or the CEO stole everything in a crooked corporate money grab or if there is still a profit motive to deny people money for health.

    It’s amazing how many crazies want to put human health on the same level as a cheap T-shirt.

    It’s a right, not a commodity.

  5. Jeff Eyges Says:

    On behalf of the Jewish people, I apologize for Joe Lieberman. His behavior, especially over these past couple of years, has been reprehensible. And he has about as much right to call himself a Democrat as Zell Miller did – although Zell had an excuse; he was nuts. Joe’s just an authoritarian.

    PL, you really think Sarah Palin as a candidate would help us? I’m frightened by the prospect; I’m worried that she may have enough charisma to consolidate and jump start the looney tunes.

  6. Ron Britton Says:

    PL:

    Although I agree that reform is at about a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, I disagree with not passing anything.

    So do I. That’s why I said we need to get rid of the worthless public option, so we have something we can pass.

    I also have to take issue with the blanket “Democrats” statement.

    I’m referring to the actions of the party. All of that incompetence is the result of the Democrats in Congress. If the leadership can’t control the Blue Dogs, they’re pretty worthless. This is politics we’re talking about. It’s all about horse-trading and/or strong-arming. The leadership needed to find a way to bring the whole contingent on board. Their incompetence at this task is amazing.

  7. Ron Britton Says:

    Thomas:

    You would, perhaps, prefer the Republicans so that we can have universal corporate welfare, no healthcare whatsoever and a federal mandate to teach creationism in schools?

    That last point is a red herring, but the rest of what you wrote is the exact opposite of what I wrote in the article.

  8. Ron Britton Says:

    K-Fed

    I don’t like how healthcare has turned into a market debate.… It’s amazing how many crazies want to put human health on the same level as a cheap T-shirt.

    You can thank the mind-blowing incompetence of the Democratic party for this. Single-payer wasn’t even considered.

  9. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I’m referring to the actions of the party. All of that incompetence is the result of the Democrats in Congress. If the leadership can’t control the Blue Dogs, they’re pretty worthless. This is politics we’re talking about. It’s all about horse-trading and/or strong-arming. The leadership needed to find a way to bring the whole contingent on board. Their incompetence at this task is amazing.

    I see your point. And it is a valid point, yes. But I worry about being a “small tent party.” Yes, right now it seems like we just can’t get these blue dog assholes in line and it’s pretty unprecedented for them to not be with us on all the procedural votes. But this is a pretty unprecedented bill.

    I hate this argument when conservatives use it to justify doing nothing, but it is true that we are mucking around with like 20% of the economy here. There are real fears mixed in with the special interest dollars.

    If Democrats were to do what the Republicans are doing right now, which is chopping off the so-called “moderates” because they don’t stick the party line on every issue, Democrats risk losing power. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in an ideal election system, but we don’t have an ideal election system. In a large number of districts the choice is a bad Democrat versus a really, really bad Republican.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I highly favor primary challengers to these jerks who are anti-healthcare, but we need them on so many other issues. Politics really sucks because you do frequently have to make a deal with the devil.

    You can thank the mind-blowing incompetence of the Democratic party for this. Single-payer wasn’t even considered.

    I do agree the leadership should have taken a stronger stand from the start. But I’m not sure single payer was the right start. To many blue dogs, seriously considering single payer was basically like considering a bill that will require mandatory execution at age 30. It’s nonsense, but that was real. We may have risked killing healthcare very early by standing strong on that in order to compromise to a very strong public option. Can you imagine the teevee commercials if Obama had proposed that?!

    Obama had a very hard decision to make in balancing how much pressure he put on the shape of the plan. The prevailing wisdom was that Clinton’s plan was killed largely because he took to the bully pulpit too strongly. Obama took the exact opposite approach. He arguably went too far the other direction, but it was a gamble. It just wasn’t a gamble he won.

    All that said, he has a health care bill. Nobody else has ever even had that!

  10. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Correction: I should say he is close to having a health care bill. Nothing is set in stone, obviously. I was just trying to emphasize how we are, indeed, further alone than ever before. This is important. 2/10 is better than 0/10. :-)