Where Is the Republican Bipartisanship on Health Care Reform?

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President Obama made one of the principles of his administration to bring Washington back into a bipartisan mode of operation. While the public did ask that there be less sturm und drangin Washington, few people would expect any President to continue to see partisanship when it became impossible to get even one vote from Republicans. They have clearly decided that they will fight against the Obama administration and do absolutely nothing, not on the second phase of putting the financial system on track, not on stimulating the economy, not on building a domestic green energy plan, and not on health care. They have obstructed these and all other issues that might help the economy and the American people. While they use every excuse from fiscal solidarity to freedom of choice to the national debt…we only need to look back two years to see where they were headed. With the country in growing economic conditions, unemployment was still high and the national debt was running half a trillion dollars a year.

Now Republicans are obstructing health care. There are no serious proposals from the Republican side. Only ridiculous comments that adding a public option as one of the health care plans along side the many private plans will create “socialised medicine” resulting in “government control.” Despite the fact that the plan is easily paid for in a number of ways, it is called unaffordable by the Right Wing, who will not consider paying for it from retiring the George W. Bush tax cuts. Of course the President and the Congress will. So the health care proposals are easily paid for, but the Republicans continue to say that they are not. Where was th bipartisanship when President Bush rammed through the tax cuts, primarily for the wealthy?

This is pretty simple stuff. If you are a health care insurance company, you have a simple objective… to insure as many people as possible at as high a rate as you can get to maximize your profits. That is what privately-owned companies do. In order to do that, you must insure only those people who will not get seriously ill and cost you a lot of money. That is how you become more profitable.

But that is not how the public achieves reasonably-priced health care. When companies can charge whatever the market will bear and there is no competition, then the consumer suffers. That is where we are with health care. In addition, there are other problems with private health care. Without regulation, they can deny you coverage. They can take away your health care. And if you move or are laid off, COBRA suddenly charges you double what you were paying…or more.

Are Republicans trying to help or are they obstructing, taking the side of private insurers against the public good? Last Wednesday, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, a typical Republican, said that he was very concerned about how Veterans will be treated under the bill because he is so concerned about Veterans. But he voted against funds proposed and approved by Democrats to expand services to Veterans in a greater amount than in the history of the VA. Not only that, but McHenry was part of a former Republican congress that actually cut Veterans benefits and was part of a committee that was supposed to oversee veterans’ treatment when they came home from the Iraq war. Does anyone remember that it was a reporter for the Washington Post who actually blew the whistle on the deplorable and dangerous conditions at Veteran’s hospitals under the Bush Administration…the great patriots…rather than the Republican House of Representatives?

McHenry, who is a Republican, does not seem to be interested in bi-partisanship. He claims that the new legislation will cause rationing (not true), will have worse outcomes (not true), will not take doctor’s opinions into consideration (not true…it is planned by the best medical clinics in the country). McHenry asks if there is “consensus against this plan in this room” in a town hall meeting…where there were hundreds of people,  who were mostly Republican. Of course there was only one black person in the room in a state that has a huge black population. So much for bi-partisanship. And racism.

And by the way, it is interesting that unless there were C-SPAN we would not see that the questions in each town hall around the country, on specific items such as the government “getting into my bank accounts” and “death panels” and other questions were the same from Republican town hall to town hall, from North Carolina to California. Of course they all have the same health industry-created “Rube Goldberg” chart that is not only ridiculous but totally wrong. In addition every Republican town hall meeting uses the information from the Lewin Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Health care, who pay their CEO $100 million and who told their employees in a memo to go out and try to defeat health care reform.

How much of this kind of “bi-partisanship” plus the signs with swastikas and Hitler moustaches painted on posters of President Obama are we supposed to tolerate? This has gone beyond toleration. We need to act now on health care for the people and ignore these moronic under-achievers, their lobbyist leaders and their white, southern, GOP, Reagan racists.

The Republicans do have something that they call a plan. It is to give everyone a tax-credit of $3,000 to buy health care. A tax credit of $3,000, when the average bill–per person–not per family– is $7000. McHenry, the mental midget, wants people who “don’t buy insurance because they think they don’t need it” to have a wonderful $3,000 tax credit which will last about ten minutes in this health care environment where a visit to the emergency room can easily cost $20,000.

McHenry, by the way, is one of the Neocon war-monger crowd who says that we need to “achieve our goal” in Iraq to insure that our 4,000 soldiers did not die in vain. Ok, so what was the goal in Iraq again? And was that worth the lives of 4,000 volunteer soldiers and National Guard members…who never thought that they would be asked to die in a foreign land? Or how about the lives of the 30,000 Americans who served in Iraq who have lost legs, arms, sight, or the ability to function in society?

The people who conned you into that war, who lied us into that war are the same people who are telling you that health care is reform is socialized medicine. They are telling you that even a fail-safe option like the ability to buy a good Medicare-like policy at a reasonable price…if you cannot find one on one of the private exchanges…is a government takeover. That is exactly what Ronald Reagan said when he tried to stop Medicare. Thank God he failed. Now his followers are trying to do the same to the public option, the part of health care reform that guarantees you a good, affordable health care plan of last resort whether you are in good health or not, whether you leave or firm or are laid off or even if you get a major illness. You will have health care and you will be able to afford it.

So we go from Democrats asking the health insurance companies to participate in an effort to reduce health care costs to a Republican plan that asks Americans to continue the system in which citizens are extorted money by the health insurance companies. In the meantime, Republicans both call the Democratic plan unacceptable and socialistic while taking huge bribes from the health insurance industry. As are Democrats. The health insurance industry is bipartisan in trying to stop you from having health care no matter what.

How can this be what 70% of Americans want? We have seen town hall meetings in Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina and California where the Republican spokesmen in the town meetings actually perpetuated the same kinds of myths and lies that the lobbying groups are sending out in memos to the Right Wing propagandists. They ask the same questions in every town hall, from Maine to California.

“How can the government be allowed to get into my checking account?”  The answer: It can’t. Congress is really not as stupid as most of the people asking the questions. That is a provision about payment for people who want direct electronic payment of regular bills, like monthly fees.

“What about Medicare? The government is going to cut Medicare to pay for this?”  No, it is not. It is going to now give people Medicare who had Medicare Advantage, which the health insurance companies  were given to run by the Republicans as a part of the prescription drug bill…another Neocon boondoggle, that time for the pharmaceutical industry. Medicare will be better and more direct service for Medicare recipients and it will save the government tens of billions of dollars a year.

All these tired, false-premised questions are being prepared, as a former vice president of communications for Cigna recently said, by the insurance companies and passed back and forth and mailed out to every Republican or health industry lobbying group.

Why does polling show that the President’s program is less popular that it was? That’s pretty simple. The health care industry is spending tens of millions of dollars to perpetuate lies about the system. They have found the right buttons to push in many cases and as we have shown above they have people who are supposedly fair and honest telling them that health care reform is a disaster. In other situations, the polls are taken by the health industry and the people being polled are paid industry lobbyists.

We cannot hope for or even consider any longer the possibility that Republicans will become involved. Frankly, the Republican Party has become completely corrupt. Not sexual corruption, like Mark Foley, Senator Vitter, Senator Ensign or Governor Sanford. More like the corruption of people like Senators Hatch, DeMint, McConnell, Grassley and Bunningwho lie at every opportunity and then complain that there is no bipartisanship. If the Republicans will not tell the truth, then there is no basis for bipartisanship. You don’t deal withpeople who lie to you when you both know that he or she is lying to you.

It is time for Democrats to move ahead on what is good for the vast majority–90% of the American people. It is time to bring health care to the floor of the House and Senate, vote on it and get the President’s signature. The time is long past for bipartisanship…if it ever existed…on the Neocon Republican side.