Health reform too mild a sausage

After a year long partisan rancor, we may finally get a little health legislation.

After âÄúreconciliation,âÄù âÄúgrannyâÄôs plugâÄù and âÄúsweetheart deals,âÄù one canâÄôt help but see health care reform through the fatty, yellowed lens of a sausage casing. It has been said laws are like sausages: It is better not to see them being made. Yet millions tuned in Sunday to watch the mechanical, partisan separation of health reform flesh as an essential procedural vote in the House suggested the bill was headed for passage. Political meat grinders on the right have seldom been so shrill, invoking vague, tired charges of socialism or totalitarianism while the left was eager to put a âÄòhistoric triumphâÄô spin on reform. The truth was somewhere near the meatless middle, with no public option and no removal of barriers preventing interstate insurance competition. For those who havenâÄôt inspected it, as of press time yesterday our sausage included an expansion of coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans, paid for by new taxes on indoor tanning parlors, a 40 percent tax on insurerâÄôs âÄúCadillacâÄù plans beginning 2018 and a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for wealthy families. The mandate still stands, but young Americans would now be eligible to remain under a parentâÄôs health plan until the age of 26, an increase of one year for Minnesota BlueCross BlueShield customers. Talk about historic. Despite a welcome change in topic, observers of all political persuasions should take care not to sigh too loud a relief. Let it be said that next time our nation spends so many resources grinding legislative sausage, we expect something more flavorful.