Saturday, March 20, 2010

Democrats Opposed To The Health Care Bill Need To Grow Up

CNN.com has laid out, in a very simple and easy-to-follow format, exactly how much the general public would benefit from the passage of the monumental health care bill. The answer: enormously.

Here are some of the highlights:

"Eliminating caps
: If you buy a policy, a health care company will not be able to place a lifetime -- or annual -- cap on how much they will cover. This is will be especially important for those diagnosed with serious illnesses, such as cancer, who face steep medical bills.

Pre-existing conditions: The Senate bill includes $5 billion in immediate support to provide temporary coverage to uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions. The money would help you until the new health care exchanges in the Senate bill are put into effect in 2014.

Children and pre-existing conditions: Another thing that's going to be very important, CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger said, is that there will be no exclusion of children with pre-existing conditions.

Dependent children: Your children will be covered until the age of 26.

"Children who are over 21 and may not have a job that pays their health insurance can still be on your policy," Borger said. "That's very important to a lot of families."

Small business tax credits: Those tax credits are aimed at helping small businesses buy health insurance for their employees. Tax credits of up to 50 percent of premiums will be available to firms that offer coverage, according to the Senate's plan.

Preventive care: All new insurance plans, Obama said, will be required to offer free preventive care in order to "catch preventable illnesses and diseases on the front end."

Appeals process: A new independent appeals process will be set up for those who feel that they were unfairly denied a claim by their insurance company.

Help for seniors: If you fall into the Medicare Part D Drug Benefit coverage gap, dubbed the "donut hole," you will receive $250 to help pay for prescriptions."

This sounds like an excellent bill to me then. It benefits small business, the uninsured, seniors, children, and is firmly in favor of citizens, not insurance companies and their ilk.

It will save hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions according to the Congressional Office of Management and Budge. (See the full story here, the OMB numbers are at the bottom of the page.) I have heard that doctors would suffer under the new bill. If that is so someone forgot to tell the American Medical Association, which also endorsed the bill.

There is simply no reason to not support this.

Which is why I find it so annoying that all this rests in the hands of a few Democrats. Look, Republicans would never get behind any healthcare reforms, precluding the massive $500 billion giveaway they gave to pharmaceutical companies in 2005, under the watchful eye and arm-twisting of that highly respected conservative Tom Delay. (This is a link to the masterful "60 Minutes" expose on that unholy deal.)

But this is what you can expect of Republicans/Conservatives: obstruction for its own sake, being ill-informed on even their signature issues, and general hatred of all good, rational progress. They hate Obama, period, and were never going to give him a chance. They hated Bill Clinton, and never gave him a chance. Par for the course. What are they for? God only fucking knows. Because they sure don't seem to. God in schools, but no books? Hard to say.

Be this as it may I am much more annoyed by the holdups coming from Democrats than I am Republicans. How stupid, how venile, how spoiled a brat do you have to be to be against a bill that would expand coverage to literally women, children and senior citizens ... and men too? That eliminates the evil little spending caps insurance firms put on your policy? That reduces that bullshit "donut hole" that screws people who can't afford life-saving medication?

People are so ill-informed about this that I swear on a bible I met a woman in the airport who was against health care reform because she thought it would expand the so-called hole in the donut. This was a desperately poor woman in her late 50s, with few prospects and no money, literally scrimping to buy the drugs she needed to live. And somehow she became convinced that the bill would make that worse. It was so tragic. I had a copy of "The Wall Street Journal" with me that day, but I hadn't read it yet. After she left, I opened it and on the front page it described how the new bill would help close the donut hole. I almost wanted to flag down her plane, but it was too late. She still probably doesn't understand.

Is the bill perfect? No, far from it. Will we get a better one if this one doesn't pass? Are you fucking serious? If this thing doesn't pass, forget it, healthcare reform is dead for another 20 years. Does it have the public option? No, and for that I am sorry, and sad. But there comes a time when you have nut up and take the best deal offered, no matter whether it has everything you want in it. Politics is the art of the possible. This bill is possible. The public option, despite the reams of sense it made, and how well it works in every other first world nation, was not possible. We are a dumb nation. And if we think health care reform is expensive wait until there is real educational reform. This is an even bigger problem, because it will make the masses less easily swayed by dumb, illogical arguments. Those in power fear that the most.

It's not a perfect bill, but no one can say it didn't get properly aired and debated. And when I think of American history most of the best legislation was hard to pass. The civil rights era voting legislation was literally passed because LBJ rallied the troops around the recently buried body of JFK. Meanwhile horrible, malignant tumors like The Patriot Act and the passing of the useless Homeland Security mega-office, not to mention the Iraq War, and the horrifying Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act all sailed through when all the votes were tallied.

This is America: the good stuff comes out over the dead bodies of far too many powerful, entrenched, malicious idiots. The horrible stuff goes through with nary a hitch.

9 comments:

Randi Skaggs said...

Amen. If only we could get the people who need to read this to read this.

Eric said...

Excellent summary, and well articulated. You're my write-in candidate in the next election!

時尚 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David Serchuk said...

Randi, I agree.

Eric, thank you for taking the time to say that. If elected I will not serve, etc. Okay, maybe I will serve.

House of G said...

I can't remember how I found your post -- I think maybe someone in my network on FB posted a link to it. In any case, thank you for your rational take, it was very well stated.

David Serchuk said...

Thanks House of G!

Matt said...

I got this email from Nader today:

What do these people and organizations have in common?

Michael Moore
MoveOn
John Conyers
The Nation
Arianna Huffington
Daily Kos
Dennis Kucinich
AFL-CIO

What do they have in common?

They all put the demands of the Democratic Party ahead of the needs of the American people.

They all knew that the health care bill that just passed into law is a bad bill.

An insurance industry bailout.

But they all said - can't let the Democrats lose this one.

They all said - it doesn't matter what's in the health care bill.

Just as long as we pass something.

But of course, it does matter.

That's why Single Payer Action stood without compromise - against the Democrats' bailout bill.

And for single payer.

That's why we will keep exposing, agitating, and organizing for single payer.

District by district, neighborhood by neighborhood.

Until we prevail.

And we will prevail.

Why?

Because we will never put the interests of any political party ahead of the interests of the American people.

We will push aside the corrupt Democrats.

And build an uncompromising movement for single payer from the grassroots up.

David Serchuk said...

Hi Matt,
I think the direct action advocated by Nader, et al, is fine. I just think torpedoing the whole bill because of it, or the public option, or whatever, was and is a terrible idea. Now that the bill is law it can be amended, it can be added to, it can be changed for the better by those who are willing to rally the public to their cause. But I am happy with a compromised bill if the alternate was not only no bill now, but no bill for another two decades, or maybe ever.

As for Nader I believe he is a man of integrity and principal. I also believe he is often a fan of cutting off noses to spite faces, mainly noses on the Democratic party. I am more moderate. I believe, at the end of the day, centrist Democratic party politics, compromised though they may be, are still much better for the country than rightist Republican politics. And, to me, those are the real options that vie against one another. Nader and his crew don't even lead to phyrric victories, they lead to, even worse, phyrric defeats for his nominal allies, Democrats.

It is hard for me to hate a bill that insures millions of people, and defeats the evil practice of capping insurance payouts and eliminating coverage for people, including children, with so-called pre-existing conditions.

Sincerely,
Dave

Matt said...

Dave,
This bill will hurt insurance companies. I don't think anyone's disputing that. So what will the insurance companies do? Raise premiums and blame it on the Democrats. I'm sure that's gonna help them in the next elections. Next time the bill is amended, you can count on the republicans being the ones to amend it.

It's hard for me to support the democrats for a lot of reasons, even within the realm of American politics (not sure that makes sense). Had the democrats pushed through a strong bill with a public option early in the health care debates, which they could have, I'd be a bit more pleased.

I realize that Nader isn't winning elections any time. I do. Neither is Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, or Mike Gravel. I doubt they're trying to win. More than likely they're trying to shift the Democrats more left. If some of the more liberal Dems listen to Nader and go "Hey, that's not a bad idea", they probably won't vote for Nader next election, but maybe they'll vote for the more liberal of the Democrats.

Maybe my views are messed up because I watch progressive talk shows, then go read Emma Goldman. :P

Matt