Ooh, that's a scary word for lots of people nowadays: facts. They prefer the truthiness of Stephen Colbert:
Truthiness is what you want the facts to be, as opposed to what the facts are. What feels like the right answer as opposed to what reality will support.
Like most progressives, I like policy-making to be based on reality that is as real as possible. Things just go better when they're founded on facts rather than falsehoods.
Sure, you're free to drive a car assuming that a red light means "go," and a green light means "stop" -- what right does society have to tell you what your truth is? -- but you'd better have good auto insurance with a low collision deductible and a non-cancellation clause.
A New York Times editorial (five more scary words for truthiness devotees) on "Health Care Reform and You" is the best summary I've read of what proposed legislation would mean for Americans.
Bottom line: almost everybody would benefit.
And I'm tempted to leave out "almost," but don't want to appear utopian. We're not talking socialized medicine, or government takeover, or rationing.
The editorial concludes with:
All of this suggests to us that the great majority of Americans — those with insurance and those without — would benefit from health care reform.
Facts please. Here's an excerpt from the editorial that had me thinking, "let's pass this legislation pronto!"
As part of health reform, all insurance companies would be more tightly regulated. For Americans who are never quite certain that their policies will come through for them when needed, that is very good news.
The House bill, for example, would require that all new policies sold on or off the exchanges must offer yet-to-be-determined “essential benefits.” It would prohibit those policies from excluding or charging higher rates to people with pre-existing conditions and would bar the companies from rescinding policies after people come down with a serious illness. It would also prohibit insurers from setting annual or lifetime limits on what a policy would pay. All this would kick in immediately for all new policies.
I've written several posts about how Regence BlueCross of Oregon recently denied my request to shift to a different plan because I had two minor health problems, a.k.a. preexisting conditions.
You see, health insurance companies don't like it when policy-holders need health care. This reduces their profit margin. What is "health care" to you and me is "expense" to the Regence accounting department.
This is why Regence has a two million dollar cap on lifetime benefits per individual member. Sure, that's a lot of money. But it isn't unheard of to run up medical bills that large if you have serious health problems.
When you get to $2,000,000 in health care costs, Regence says "goodbye and good luck." Yet Republicans are almost universally united in opposing any changes to our health insurance system, with many wanting this to be Obama's Waterloo.
How's that for compassionate conservatism? Let Americans die and go broke in order to make a political point.
It's summertime. I'm trying to chill out during a wonderfully warm Oregon summer. But I just decided to get off my complacent butt and donate some money to help the health care reform effort.
Check out what you can do, much of which doesn't cost anything. It's easy to submit an online form that says you support Obama's reform efforts.
What reasonable person could disagree with what he's trying to achieve?
Reduce costs — Rising health care costs are crushing the budgets of governments, businesses, individuals, and families, and they must be brought under control
Guarantee choice — Every American must have the freedom to choose their plan and doctor – including the choice of a public insurance option
Ensure quality care for all — All Americans must have quality and affordable health care