Monday, January 22, 2007

Trojan Horse

George Bush's desperate attempts to find some legs for the final two years of his presidency will manifest itself in tomorrow's proposals for "reforms" in the health insurance market. The reforms will include a pot of money to be made available to states to increase access to healthcare among the uninsured. With one catch, according to the White House Fact (sic) Sheet (alt. link here) --

To take advantage of funds under the Affordable Choices Initiative, States must take steps to make health insurance more affordable within their States, such as reducing benefit or premium mandates

i.e. states that dare set conditions on insurance premiums or coverage might not get any money. Now, they haven't said what the offending "mandates" might be, but if this reform was implemented, the Bushies would have an implement useful for attacking anything from a requirement that health insurance should cover birth control or abortion, to Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal of community-rated premiums i.e. that insurance companies must charge everyone the same rate for health insurance.

This merely confirms what Paul Krugman's NYT column (subs. req'd) said this morning -- that Bush's healthcare plan is, like the Iraq war, a product of ideologues who have found an ideal partner in his indifference to anyone less fortunate and connected than himself.

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