28 October 2008

From the Wonk Room: Igor Volsky and the Politics of Health Care

From the ThinkProgress Wonk Room, Igor Volsky takes a look at some embattled Senate incumbents on the Republican side and notes a trend: they all voted against increasing health coverage for children under the SCHIP program. It's worth pointing out that these are not all the Repubs up for reelection, and these are not all the Repubs in tight races, so it stands that not all Republican incumbents voted against SCHIP. All the same, in an age where "nanny state" issues fall away when we talk about being unable to afford basic health services for our children, Americans appear poised to accept government intervention on this particular topic. And yet, it hasn't been forthcoming. That leaves lawmakers who did support the (unpopular) president's veto in a bind.

As long as we're in the Wonk Room, and as long as we're on the topic of health care, I'll grab another post from Igor to rebut this Robert Carroll op-ed from Monday's Wall Street Journal. I'm afraid I don't have a lot of time between now and Nov 10 for substantive discussion of the issues (I'm cribbing from my favorite VP candidate), so I'll let my surrogates do the hard work for me. Volsky's argument against Carroll's support for the McCain health care tax credit sheds a little light on why I'm currently uninsured: because the alternative, for the time being, is to be underinsured, which means that despite paying my premiums I still wouldn't be able to afford the care I need when I need it. In which case I'd most likely miss out on the services I thought I was buying--or be left to pay for them myself--and be throwing my money away on the insurance that doesn't actually cover me. Yet one more reason I'll be voting for Obama and continuing to look for employer-sponsored health care benefits, because those group benefits are almost always more comprehensive than individual benefits. And let me say this: as a healthy, 32-year-old male, I'd be happy to join the pool of insured Americans and help bring the rates down for everybody. But I can't do that if it's not going to work out well for me, also. There's no invincibility complex here: I worry about this situation for my wife and me every day. But that doesn't mean we can go shell out good money for a bad product that doesn't meet our needs.