Saturday, August 01, 2009

Is Health Care Reform Going to Fail Again?

I've been watching the debate over health care reform and I'm losing hope that it will happen. People of good will can disagree about the best way to deliver health care to all Americans. But, we're not seeing that. Instead, the debate is about nonsense. Things like:

  • You're going to substitute socialized medicine for my Medicare! (No, Medicare IS socialized medicine and nobody is trying to mess with it.)
  • You're going to make health care elitist, so only the wealthy will have good health care! (No, the way it is now, only the better off can get good health care. Obama wants to make it less elitist.)
  • The government will withhold health care and let old people die! (No, nobody has proposed that and nobody would tolerate that.)
  • An anonymous bureaucrat will control my health care! (What do you think is happening now? With public health care, you can write to your congressman. Under the current system, you get to write to the company that denied you coverage.)
  • It's going to be too expensive! (No, doing nothing is too expensive. Nobody has argued with President Obama's point at his last press conference, that doing nothing will double our health care costs in ten years, while further reducing the number of people covered.)
  • I won't have the freedom to choose my health plan! (You don't have that freedom now. Your employer selects the plans you get to choose from. If you're lucky, the plan you can afford is adequate. If we have a "public option," that plan will be available to everybody, actually increasing choice.)
  • I won't have the freedom to choose my doctor! (The way it is now, you have to choose a doctor who takes your plan. If your employer decides to change your plan, you might have to change doctors. That won't change unless regulations require insurance companies to accept all willing providers. Fat chance.)
  • I won't be able to keep my current plan! (Yes, you will. There is nothing in any of the current proposals to keep you from doing that.)
  • I'll be forced to buy insurance when I don't want it. I should have the right to go without insurance! (No, we're all in this together. You never know when you'll fall down the steps, get bitten by a mosquito carrying Lyme disease, or be diagnosed with cancer. Just like with car insurance, you pay into the system so you can get the benefits when you need them.)
The health insurance companies like the system the way it is. They're making money hand over fist. They don't want any changes and they are throwing money at both parties (1.4 million dollars a day!) to defeat reform.
Worse yet, the Republican Party has decided that defeating Obama is more important than helping US citizens. They have been actively feeding this nonsense through their usual media outlets. They ought to be ashamed of their lies, but I don't think they have the moral fiber.
There is no reason we should be holding to the current system. It's a social and economic mess. People are going bankrupt with medical bills, while others have no coverage at all and only get treatment at an emergency room when they are really sick. Furthermore, we cannot compete internationally if we continue to throw good money after bad for health care.
Every other western nation has managed to provide health care for all its people. Why can't we? There's only one reason we can't: We've got Republicans and they don't.
Blue Dog Democrats are bad enough, but at least they're willing to vote for something. If health care reform fails it will be on the Republicans, and they will happily take the credit. But, while they are celebrating, they should know there will be a lot of us who will remember what they did.
I guarantee you, if health care reform fails, the only time I'm going to vote Republican is for dog catcher. Then I'll get the meanest, nastiest dog I can find and set it loose.
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SWP said...


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