Wednesday, March 16, 2011

1960's Freedom and 2010's prisons

OK, my mind wanders, but there were two separate incidents tonight that caused me to mull over my generation's descent from their devotion to freedom down to their clinging to the prison of security.  I went to a "public comment" meeting on a 23.8% rate hike that has already been imposed by Washington Electric Coop.  The procedure is that the Coop raises its rates, then the public service board holds hearings and takes comments;  then ten months later decides whether the rate hike that went into effect ten months earlier is justified.  Several people commented that the Coop is a "geographic monopoly"; therefore its customers have no choice on the rate hike except to beg the public service board not to allow it.  The public comment session was merely a charade:  people complained about the effect of the hike on their household budgets, which of course makes not one whit of difference to the public service board.  A taxpayer funded stenographer was there to dutifully take down the public's comments, as if it mattered.  Yet this is exactly what the General Assembly is attempting to accomplish for 1/6 of our economy, namely our health care sector, and in the process take away choice for the most private and important decisions we make--decisions about our own health.  I can picture it now:  the "Health Care Reform Board" holding public hearings on what procedures are most cost effective treatments for the public.  It will be a similar charade with the public begging the Board to allow funding of certain procedures, and the Board politely listening, with a stenographer duly recording. 
Then I came home and found a public television station broadcasting old footage of the folk singers of my youth singing freedom songs.  I looked at those young people on the TV, now old and wrinkly like me, and wondered what they would think of their older selves supporting such constraints.   To be sure, the members of the public service board and the soon to be created health care reform board are mostly well meaning and honorable.  But it is government restraint on our freedom nonetheless.

1 comment:

  1. The 5 member Health Care Reform Board is slated to have enormous power...too much power. It will be charged with the overall health care budget for the State, determining compensation levels for physicians, establishing the "benefit" package for Green Mountain Care, and for overseeing what's left of the private insurance industry. It is destined for failure.