Want to get a broad ranging discussion going.

In the wee hours of the morning I got a tweet from the President indicating that the Senate had just passed comprehensive health care reform.

I have more questions than answers. What are your thoughts? All opinions welcome.

My questions and comments:

1) Is America too big for a national plan? Is the reason it works in Europe and elsewhere that those countries are smaller?

2) We have a functioning “junta” or “cartel” of health insurance companies which continue to mess with me personally. I’m the healthiest almost-50 year old I know (oldest person I know who shreds the half-pipe snowboarding), and my premiums are an outrage. I just tried to switch companies to get a better rate and got refused. Am sure I’m not alone. What’s your experience? Especially those, like me, who are self-employed.

3) This cartel did everything it could to block any reform. The cartels have to be broken. That is the job of government. Where is Teddy Roosevelt when we need him?

4) American health care is only good if you have a solid government/public job, an exceptional employer, or are simply too wealthy to care about insurance. Otherwise, you may as well live in Cuba or Poland.

5) Our lack of ability to insure our population has led to bizarre use of emergency rooms as public clinics. This costs all of us.

6) Billing is outrageous; ask for an itemized medical bill and you won’t believe what you get charged for sheets of paper and cotton balls.

7) No nation spends as big a percentage of our income on health care as we do.

8] Christian conservatives have a bizarre allergy against health care reform. It’s as if Jesus wants us to call our Senators to keep the cartel in power.

9) Our biggest health concern is obesity. Fat is the “new normal.” The cost of this, long term, is a bill we cannot, as a society, pay.

10) The government is not totally useless. They put a man on the moon. They whupped the Nazis. They built the interstate highways. They designed this internet. We have socialized fire departments. Socialized traffic lights. Health care? What do you think? And, “government is useless” is not an intelligent reason not to go there. There may be good reasons why government should not regulate health care, but blanket cynicism is not helpful in a nation with government “by the people.”

11) When I lived in Chicago, there was a free hospital–Cook County General. Whatever happened to hospitals like that in our big cities?

12) Before you complain about Canada’s system, have you actually talked to a real Canadian about it? Or just listened to talk radio?

I don’t, obviously, have answers. What do the rest of you think?

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