Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm tired of the foot stomping...just pass the thing

Hearing clips from the health care reform summit yesterday did little to restore any faith in the qualities of the men and women given the opportunity to represent us in Washington. The softness of the Democrats and the foot stomping and constant "No! No! No!" of the Republicans was enough to drive me to madness.

The repeated chorus from the Republicans was that the majority of Americans don't want this health care reform. Despite poll after poll showing the opposite and the fact that they are a party voted into the minority, these bull-headed obstructionists continued saying it over and over. Seemingly, the mid-term victory of a charismatic Republican over a dull, apathetic Democrat for Ted Kennedy's old seat is all the proof they need to bolster this out-of-touch belief.

Granted many people do oppose health care reform. The polls show that a lot of people don't want the current offering to pass and that a lot of people do. On closer examination though, it turns out that most of the main parts taken individually receive overwhelming support - even from conservative voters. What this shows is that the Republicans have done a great job of repeating "government takeover" but a poor job of listening to what Americans want.

Anyone who isn't embarrassed by the state of health care availability in the United States is either incredibly lucky to have a stellar health insurance policy, or incredibly unaware and naive. We are the inheritors of a seriously flawed system that boasts some of the finest care available in the world, but also the most expensive and far from most effective care in the world.

The fault lies not in one or two places, but in many. Insurance companies are chalking up record profits, malpractice suits are out of control, costs of procedures are spiraling and drug costs are exploding. Any of these causes are complex and not easily explained or fixed. Regardless, they all need to be addressed.

Personally, I would love to say "fuck em all" and see a full government takeover. Eliminate the health insurance vultures, set prices for medical care and procedures, pay for the education of any doctors who sign on to practice medicine in the U.S. and tell the drug companies what we're willing to pay. That's what I would love to see. And, yes, that is socialism. It's socialism and I don't give a shit. That's how strong my frustration is. This system is broken and it needs to be fixed.

I'm not silly enough to believe something like that would ever happen. It's not a cure all. There is no magic bullet and that particular bullet would create a god-awful big mess. It would be such a big procedure that health care might not survive it. It's too drastic.

The proposed plan would also mean some big changes. Many people won't like it. So what. Don't like it? Stick with what you've got now.

The fact is, if the system isn't reformed drastically, it will not survive anyway. Less people have health insurance now than did two decades ago and those that do are facing increasingly high costs and limited benefits. Most people just haven't felt it yet because they've been buffered by their employers footing more of the bill. How long do you think that will continue?

In the last two weeks, Californians have seen a major insurance provider hike costs of policies by nearly 40 percent and another make a hike of over 30 percent. This in an economy that is seeing inflation at a near-record low.The economy is so weak that there is nearly no inflation and yet insurance giants are raising prices by nearly about 40 percent. There hasn't been a year in the last decade where inflation reached even four percent. Think about that and say with a straight face that serious reform isn't needed. And if you think that's only happening in California, you're not paying attention - just ask insurance buyers in Virginia.

Anyway, think what you will. I'm too tired and frustrated to even write any more about this. If you are even vaguely interested in health care reform, contact your Senator and your Representative. Let them know what you want. Maybe they'll put aside gamesmanship long enough to actually listen. I hope so. This shouldn't be a political game, it's about people's lives and health. more ass-hattery...

Jim Bunning says "tough shit" to extending unemployment benefits despite a nearly 10 percent unemployment rate. Here's his office number - 202-208-6611. I called and asked him to show some real solidarity with the unemployed and return his monthly paycheck to the treasury. It seemed like a good way for him to experience a little of the plight of the unemployed.


Miranda said...

Shawn: I'm not sure which polls you've been looking at. Most of the mainstream polls are still showing the Americans oppose the current healthcare bills.

Here, for instance are polls from Gallup and Rasmussen.



And is it really any wonder that Americans oppose passing legislation that their legislators admit they do not understand and in some cases have not even read?

The idea is just ludicrous. Yes, it is a good idea to try to prevent suffering. But it is not a good idea to pass random bits of legislation hoping that they will somehow magically make our troubles go away.

Shawn said...

As to polls:
Gallup -

Look under the hood of many polls on health care reform bill. I would be one of those who think the proposed plan should go farther. I'm far from a conservative voice.

Again, polling on main parts of plan taken individually show overwhelming support.


Legislators not reading part or all of legislation is indeed ludicrous. That's their job. Regardless, it does not reflect at all on the content of the legislation any more than legislators not reading Shakespeare makes "Hamlet" a terrible play.


Good idea to prevent suffering:
Agreed. But, access to affordable health care shouldn't be a great altruistic effort. It should be a basic component of American life.


Random bits:
"But it is not a good idea to pass random bits of legislation hoping that they will somehow magically make our troubles go away."

Completely and whole-heartedly agreed! Sadly, that seems to be exactly the Republican "plan" since the old Republican plan was pretty much slammed by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

The reality is that there are a lot similarities between the main plans floating around - including the one at center stage. But, it is seemingly more important for Republicans to block anything that could be seen as an Obama victory.

And I'm spent...

Miranda said...

I agree that legislators not reading a bill does not make it a bad one. But the fact that many say they are unable to understand it means a great deal. At the very least it means a nightmare for those responsible for implementing it and using it.

Real reform should involve simplification and clarity. We do not need a more confusing system that even those who created it do not understand.

We also do not need a bill that grants unspecified powers to politically appointed health commissioners. If the bill actually specified what the programs it creates did, that would be one thing. But instead, the health bills the Democrats have proposed have included segments that say that a health commissioner will decide what to do after the fact. I don't think that that is wise or safe.

I don't think it's fair to say that the only reason Republicans have been blocking plans is that its passing would mean success for the Democrats.

So far we have been presented with bills that are incomprehensible, even to congress, and sloppily created adaptations. A good plan would be one that thought out before it was passed - not one that was passed quickly without enough care, just to make Democrats look like big winners.

But, of course, I'm a conservative and I like change to be slow ;).

The Zombieslayer said...

I have no opinion in health care reform. Hate the system. Hate any alternative. I hate doctors and I hate hospitals. I hate growing older too and balding.

Insurance is currently overpriced and doesn't cover s*** when you actually need it. So when it comes to health care, I probably sound completely cynical. I don't have any faith in either party to fix anything.

Democrats will want to take care of the uninsured, but it will be bloated and we'll end up with a tax hike. Republicans will say they're looking out for our best interests and cutting expenses, but then will use that same money they saved by not having any benefits on a new war (that of course they'll rah rah about but none of their kids will fight in).

In the end, either way we lose.

The Zombieslayer said...

Oh, for the record, I'd probably support a single payer system. That may make the best sense.

Shawn said...

ZS - I'm cynical too.

Most of the arguments against a public option and more government oversight of the health care industry seems to be that the government can't do it as well as private industry. Well, that's a supposition. The belief that private industry can't provide for a tenable health care system is, sadly, a reality that can be observed already.

So, it becomes a philosophical debate about a maybe versus a definitely.

I would like to see a single-payer system as well. Second best for me is a public option that I could opt into.


Shawn said...

Or, perhaps...cheers!