I really didn't intend getting dragged into a political discussion, especially with a guy I'd spent all evening trying to hook, but listening to him whitter on about the Health Care Reform bill, and how uplifting it was to see the President sign it into law yesterday, I couldn't help myself. Yes, it's a good thing. Yes, it needed to be done. And yes, short of a fully socialist system, this was probably the best compromise there could be.
Apart from one point. That bit about it being illegal not to purchase health insurance. The bit that says you can be fined between $95 and $695 for not buying a policy. The bit that says the Federal Government demands you purchase goods from a private company, regardless of whether or not you want them. Yes, a private company.
Imagine if Halliburton (or whatever they're called these days) started a health insurance division... Walmart... Fannie Mae... the Ku Klux Klan.... Or any other organization that, for whatever reason, you have serious ethical/political/social reservations over. (Although whether the current crop of highwaymen are any better is another question.) The law would demand that you bought your health insurance from them. Which is nice for someone.
OR... if this bill does survive (and with 30+ states now opposed to it, it may not) what next?
To combat illiteracy, it is now illegal not to spend $320 (the figure being bandied around as the optimum health insurance cost) per month on books.
To combat obesity, $320 per month on organic produce.
Let's cut down on crime and make it mandatory for everyone to buy a taser.
Let's cut down on car accidents and make everyone buy an armored car.
In fact, last night I made my own contribution to the debate. Let's cut down on the spread of casual sex by making it illegal to pick up a guy in a bar and not have a screaming political row with him.
I went home alone.