We now have a health care plan that passed in the Senate and one that passed in the House of Representatives. Holding up true reform were all the Republican Senators, who clearly showed who their constituents are…the lobbyists. They make no bones about it. They voted against any thing to do with health care reform. Not one Republican Senator and only one Republican House member voted at any time for any provision of health care. And that House member voted for his people…only once!
If we ever should be afraid of losing our government to special interests, it is right now, today. The health care industry has won a huge victory over the American People. If even ONE REPUBLICAN SENATOR had voted with the Democrats at any time in the process, Americans would have had health care and a serious opportunity to have much, much better and lower-cost health care insurance, affordable, better, and totally secure.
Incidentally, in answer to the false television commercials being issued by the Chamber of Commerce…there ARE NO HIDDEN TAXES in the health reform bill. Nothing is hidden. Read. Learn. Everything is there right now. Nothing is hidden.
Over and over again, the House and the Senate have said how we are going to pay for this. Each time the lobbyists threaten another Senator, the weak-kneed, half-dozen Senators that we all need to help 300 million Americans with health care come up with another plan to pay for it. They are not hidden. They are not good, but they are simply what can be done despite the anti-reform pressure that people like the Chamber of Commerce is applying to the House and Senate members.
The health care industry, fearful that Americans will somehow regain control of their health care expenditures and lose their virtually unlimited power over American families, has fought back with over $400 million spent in 2009 alone. Currently, huge amounts of money are being spent on television by America’s Health Care Plans, by the Chamber of Commerce and by Rick Scott’s organization, CPR.
As a reminder, Rick Scott was the President of Hospital Corporation of America, a hospital corporation that was found guilty of cheating American taxpayers out of huge amounts of money. They settled with the federal government for $1.7 billion, the largest fine ever paid by an American corporation. Rick Scott walked away with an estimated 100 million. He not only shows up at tea party rallies…and apparently has no reason to fear for his life, which is astonishing to some…but he actually speaks against the health care plan that will eliminate the crooked dealings of people like him!
In Europe, a man like Rick Scott would never dare show his face again. But in Europe, the government is recognized as working for the people, not merely big corporations. In the current corrupt political atmosphere in Washington, so riddled by greed and so pandering to the huge money of lobbyist-led corporations, people like Rick Scott can pretend to care about the people he has cheated and plans to cheat again. He must be laughing constantly when he is out of public view at the ignorance and stupidity of the American people.
So, where are we? A health care bill will pass. What will be in it, after all the obstruction from the Republicans and their health care lobbyist friends?
Here are some of the provisions that will take place immediately if the House bill is passed:
1. The “donut hole,” the amount that Medicare part D members must pay out of pocket for prescription drugs is reduced by $500 immediately (it will be reduced more later) and brand name drugs must be reduced in price by 50% to Medicare part D participants.
2. Creates an immediate temporary insurance program for those whose insurance has run out or been canceled or those who have been denied because of a pre-existing condition.
3. It bans lifetime limits on coverage.
4. It bans rescissions of existing policies.
5. Adds people up to 27 onto their parents’ policies, if so desired
6. Creates a fund to aid corporations that pay benefits to early retirees
7. Provides funds to expand community health care centers.
8. Increases the number of primary care doctors, nurses and specialists.
And there is more. But there is also a Senate bill. And what does that bill have?
Over the next several years, but no later than 2014 (as it stands now; it may be sooner) the bill states:
1. All employees will have some kind of health care plan. If small businesses cannot afford it, they will be offered either tax subsidies or actual subsidies.
2. Individuals will have health care plans through health insurance companies. If they cannot afford them, they will be subsidized for part of the costs.
3. Insurance companies will not be able to deny, close out or top-out the insurance of individuals. People who have pre-existing conditions will still be able to get insurance.
4. To reduce costs, insurance pools will be set up that will not allow restrictions on the number of companies that can participate. These will be large competitive groups that will allow individuals to choose not from simply one or two insurance companies but from as many as a dozen in order to get the best price.
5. Legal immigrants will be able to buy in to the health care system. Illegal immigrants will be excluded.
6. People who have difficulty paying for health care insurance will be subsidized to the point that health care costs out of their pockets cannot be more than 2% or 9.8% of income depending upon how much income they have. So if you had $50,000 income and that was he limit for the top end, you would pay no more than $5,000 per year on health care, $400 per month.
So what are we left with? Not much. But it is a start. Here is what we see as the final outcome.
Everyone, 94% or more will have some kind of health care without resorting to the emergency room. Poorer Americans will get some kind of subsidies. They will be forced to pay something. Kids are now defined as people up to age 27, so they can stay on the family insurance plan. There will be no caps on what insurance companies have to pay if you are ill and they cannot drop you from the insurance rolls. But insurance costs will continue to go up, even though there will supposedly be insurance co-ops of a sort that bring down insurance costs.
Nothing will happen on costs, because health insurance is not a good business unless you can charge outrageous fees and get away with it. Nothing anywhere in any bill addresses costs except these insurance pools. And the insurance pools are made up of insurance companies who can simply shut down if they decide that they are not making enough money.
Insurance companies will have been forced to do very little, almost nothing, because of the treachery of Senators Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and, to a slightly lesser degree, Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and, of course, every single Republican Senator.
So, despite the attempts, valiant attempts of about 55 Democratic U.S. Senators and about 200 Democratic U.S. Congress persons, the health insurance lobby, having spent hundreds of millions of dollars, almost half a billion in less than one year, has won. They have scared or purchased three or four Senators, who controlled the majority of 60 Senators that, for some reason, has now become the way to stop the Senate from acting, and those Senators kept you from having health care.
It should be said that you find out who the fanatics and the cowards and the devious undercover operatives are for the moneyed and the special interests are in these situations. Bart Stupak, a normally Liberal congressman, and the Blue Dog Democrats, normally sane fiscal Liberals, showed that they have no sense of what is important for American society, putting their own agendas, personal religion and personal pride above the good of the People.