The country is very close to a long-awaited transformation. The Democrats in Congress have decided, with the President, that it is time for all Americans to have the security of available, affordable health care. The Democratic Congress was elected in 2006 and again in 2008 in even greater numbers. In the 2008 election and beyond, in poll after poll, Americans expressed their strong desire for a solution to the health care problem. The People have spoken but the Republicans have not heard. They listen only to the health care lobby.
The Republican members of Congress, rather than empathizing with what Americans want, are using the current economic crisis, of which they were the primary cause, to raise one spurious argument after another to try to prevent universal health care. While saying that they want health care for all, they are offering an endless stream of objections. It is too costly. It is socialized medicine. There will be rationing. Bureaucrats will interfere between you and your doctor. One false assumption after another. None of those things are true. T.R. Reid and Michael Moore showed the public conclusively that universal health care around the world in developed countries is not only as good as ours, but in many cases it is far superior and no one is excluded.
So, have the Republicans joined in to help the American family? Have they admitted that this is something valuable for the health and well-being of all citizens? Or have they done all they can to confuse the situation and keep the status quo? You decide.
Does that sound like a man leading a segment of Congress who has a plan? Does it sound like constructive criticism, an alternative point of view? Even many Republicans say that this chart looks like some Rube Goldberg contraption, a joke or a parody. And of course it has nothing whatsoever to do with the reality of the health care program about to be undertaken.
Now the truth of the matter is this. You now go to a doctor. The doctor gives you pills or a treatment or sends you to a specialist. You go to the specialist if you need one and the specialist fixes you or not. You pay a co-pay to the doctor and probably to the specialists. It will work exactly that way when you are in a public plan, but if you are in a private plan, you’ll simply continue in it, just as you do now.
Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin offered an amendment to remove the public option from An amendment to kill the public option. Delete it, remove it from the legislation. Do you know what that would have done? It would have made the legislation meaningless as far as cutting costs is concerned. Why did Ryan want to delete it? Because he says it would create unfair competition between the government and private health care companies. It will become the “camel’s nose under the tent” that will lead eventually to a single payer program.
So, stop for a minute and think what that means. I am not sure that Ryan did before he spoke. Or maybe he doesn’t care about his constituents. Or maybe his real constituents are the health insurance companies spending $1.4 million a day to defeat universal health care. He says that this would create unfair competition for the health insurance companies who are making huge profits by tossing people off their programs in droves. It might lead to a a single payer system! In other words, the health insurance companies would be forced out or at least influenced to make only reasonably profits. Let’s see for whom that would be good and for whom that would be bad. People who provide bad service at a higher cost would be replaced by people who provide good service at a lower cost. I think that is called the capitalist free enterprise system. Oh, yes, it works. The post office is used by many people who could use FEDEX or UPS. Private insurance could be substituted right now for Medicare, but people choose Medicare. In many countries there is actual competition between private non-profit health care companies and they work exceptionally well. If you know you are going to be sick, for example, move to Switzerland. You’ll be well cared for.
Republican representative Sam Johnson of Dallas claimed that the health care program would be so complicated that it would be impossible to administer. Bureaucrats would be behind every bush dictating what services we could have. He brought out the same chart created by elves apparently, very similar to one being trotted around by Representative Riley of PA or the one by “Cigarette John” Boehner of Ohio. We don’t need charts to tell us that the Republicans are trying to obstruct our access to health care and help their wealthy friends, those who make $350,000 or more annually. They are being asked to chip in for once. With a public option added to a national health care program we will only need two things. Our doctor’s address and phone number.
The public health care system will work much like Medicare, so the Republicans attack Meidicare, claiming that it is insolvent. Well, it is costing more than it should and it cannot continue that way for a long time. By 2017, the amounts of money in the Medicare fund will only pay for about 80% of services. So the Health Care Reform act will fix that. The services are good. The physyicians, since 2007 when the Democrats took over in the House, have been paid more and the system is working better. Other medical delivery systems, such as the Veterans Administration and Medicaid will also be improved. Not complicated because both those systems will continue to work just as they are working now.