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Healthcare Reform: For or Against

March 19, 2010

Today, I’d just like to share my opinion on whether or not the Congress should pass the Healthcare reform legislation before it. Before I give my opinion however, let me state these facts:

  • I do not like that there is no Public Option in this legislation (Frankly, I feel it is a disgrace that we had super-majorities in the House and Senate and didn’t go for single-payer from the beginning);
  • I do not like the individual mandate requirement (I cannot see how a person who can’t pay for insurance now, is going to suddenly go out an buy it just because Congress says so.  There will be fines abounding. Fines that will not be paid);
  • I hate the unintended consequence of bulstering the position of the Health Insurers (Mandating everyone buy health insurance might as well be sending the industry a multi-billion dollar bailout package;
  • and I don’t like that the legislation doesn’t kick in until 2014.

All that being negative, I am for the Bill.

Regardless of the argument that the numbers of uninsured are skewed by illegal immigration.  Whether they are or not we pay the price in taxes, because the illegal and legal are being serviced in our emergency rooms. Secondly, for the bill because the practices of excluding people from pre-existing conditions and rescidivism are evil.  How can we conscionably allow a system that considers a woman who has been beaten by her Husband as having a pre-exsting condition and uninsurable to stand? Or a 17 year old who contracts HIV’s policy to be rescinded? We cannot!

Republicans will say there ideas have not been given a fair hearing.  They are at best disingenious. They were in power over all the federal government for eight years.  They were in charge of congress for 12, after the shift in the middle of the Clinton administration.  They have never offered cost controlling legislation for health care, with exception of TORT reform (whose benefits are proven to be minimal at best).  They have never visited the issue of pre-existing conditions. They have never offered an option to those who by no fault of their own are priced out of the insurance market place! it is an indictment of our elected officials that Health Insurers are allowed to increase premiums in California by 22% and in North Carolina by 20%.  I find it laughable when conservatives quote the familiar talking point, “we have the best healthcare system in the world”, what they mean is “if you have the money to pay outright, you’ve got the best healthcare in the world.” Because the insurance industry is in the business of gambling with our lives, of making money buy investing our premiums.

They are not in the business of helping us return to health or stay healthy. They are a for profit, historically callous industry whose inception by Richard Nixon, upon consultation with the founders of Kaiser Permanente, was to create a for profit system of healthcare which incentivized “less medical care” because it “… the less care they give them, the more money they make.” Insurance companies around this nation remain modeled this way. Terroizing patients, doctors and hospitals if they do not comply with their arbitrary levels of service (even when the patient is supposedly fully covered)!

However, what we all should not be able to live with is that 45,000 American citizens will die every year from lack of health insurance.

The bill, however incomplete will allow 30 million now uninsured people to have insurance. It does address pre-existing conditions, rescidivism, small business affordability issues, healthcare cost to seniors, and extends the life of Medicare. All of which the insurance industry is lobbying heavily against as I type. I know what we need.  What we need is a single-payer system. But our Congressional leaders on the left to the greatest extent does not have the fortitude or principled strength to demand what the people want; and on the right are lost in ideological stupidity.  What we’re left with right now: H.R. 3200.  The fight for single-payer must continue. A robust lobby, activist led push for single-payer must continue, even while we pass this lack luster bill. But believe me. If you have any judgemnet of the tenor of our political discourse this year – this term – it’s the best we’re going to get.

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