As for the rest of it, I'm afraid I got distracted by a critical hardware failure before I could form a reasoned position.
That is, quite possibly, the single best excuse I've ever heard for not responding to something. Ever.
I caught a case of the capacitor plague
. The damages are still being tallied, but a motherboard was killed and two CPUs orphaned.</tangent>
The first video
is an anticorporate rant dressed up as HCR propaganda. It points out nearly all of the problems in the health insurance ecosystem, but fails to mention even a single problem with Medicare. And then, of course, there's the "fire insurance" strawman.
The second video
is more of a vague summary of the subject, but if you look closely there are signs throughout that it was made by an insurance company.
The FireDogLake article
suggests that the new law won't actually change things much, but will, on average, cost more for the same coverage.
And finally, the Center for American Progress article
is a list of talking points I'll touch on later.
So now that I'm an Instant Expert(tm) on health care reform, what do I think needs to be done?
It seems to me that the root of all these problems is that health insurance isn't a market; it's a bunch of monopolistic fiefdoms. Each company chooses one provider, and all its employees use that. If I don't like how my insurance company treats me, I'm stuck with them anyway. Hence, the solution is clear: make it so that employees can change insurance companies without having to change employers (or the herculean task of changing their employer's insurance company), and change employers without having to change insurance companies.
What would be necessary to do this? A ban on pre-existing condition exclusions, first and foremost. There also needs to be a way to choose a health insurer independently of what one's employer would choose.
As much as I wish it were so, I'm not so naive as to think that most people would pay for health insurance out of pocket. People are just too short-sightedly greedy. So that means a direct free market's out. We could force them, by law, to carry coverage, like we do with car insurance, but I have ethical issues with a state absolutely requiring anything of its citizens, so I'd have to be dragged kicking and screaming to that idea. Insurance exchanges, if done right, might garner most of the benefits of a free market without leaving large numbers of people uninsured-by-choice. Market effects, if allowed to operate, will result in less rescission (and lesser consequences on the rescissed), generally lower out-of-pocket expenses, and lower overhead costs.
Care needs to be taken, though, to make sure that the standard of care and advancement of medicine don't suffer in the process. A lot of doctors, when it comes down to it, went into medicine for the money. The higher-paying their specialty is, the more likely this is true. It helps nobody's health if the next generation of oncologists, heart surgeons, and neurosurgeons become stockbrokers instead. It's no accident, either, that the country with the highest healthcare spending is also the country where most drugs are developed. Finding a chemical or combination of chemicals that will enter a system as complex as the human body, fix the thing that's wrong with it, and then either find its way out or get turned into benign chemicals without doing anything dangerous elsewhere in the body is a long, difficult, and expensive process. Combine that with the finiteness of patents, and pharmaceutical companies have only 10-15 years of the drug on the market to pay back the development costs of that drug, plus covering the expenses of projects that never produce a viable drug. If they can't, the company dies. For a single company, that's the natural order of things, and should be left as is. But if it happens to an entire industry due to the introduction of price controls, then that strangles the market and the main path for the advancement of medicine dies with it.