Why Progressives Should Support the Health Care Bill

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Ben Cohen
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I think the health care bill that looks likely to pass in the coming days generally sucks. It is a mandated give away to the insurance industry and leaves government completely out of the picture when it comes to providing affordable health care. The government will essentially pay poor people to buy private insurance, taxing the middle classes to line the pockets of the insurance industry. It's wrong, it sucks, and it's what we're going to get.

But, and there is a big but, it will achieve a number of progressive aims that despite the inherent flaws, will lead to significantly more people gaining access to insurance, and prevent the insurance industry from egregious abuses. Glenn Greenwald sums it up perfectly:

I'm not criticizing progressives who support this bill, nor am
Icriticizing those who insisted they would oppose it but changed their
minds at the end. Unlike many progressives, Iwas never among those who
advocated for this bill's defeat because, as loathsome and even
dangerous as I find the bill's
corporatist framework to be
(mandating that citizens buy the
products of the private health insurance industry),I've found it very
difficult (as Isaid all along)to oppose a bill that results in greater
health care coverage for millions of currently uninsured people.
Whether progressives are doing the right thing in supporting this bill
is debatable(there's a strong progressive case for the bill -- any bill
that restricts industry abuses and vastly expands coverage is
inherently progressiv....

Greenwald's article is generally highly critical of the bill and he's spot on in his analysis of the Democrat's general disregard for the progressives in the party. But looking at the larger picture, it cannot be a bad thing that more people get more health care for less money.