Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Thoughts on the Health Care Bill

In 2004 and 2008 I was shocked at how gross people could be about politics in those presidential elections.  But things are just getting worse and worse.  Both sides are full of crazy people vying for the next obnoxious sound-byte.  By the way, blame the media for awarding sound-bytes to complete insanity. 

Last year, I was blown away when a young church staffer posted on his facebook a list of lies about the Bill.  He posted that these were true statements, and after inspection, you could see how words were stretched and changed by the original author.  Of the original 48 claims, only 4 proved to be true while the others were false, fabrications, or at the very least misleading. (The factcheck.org website is an important resource because they are doing the work of actual journalists.  In 2004 Dick Cheney urged voters to check the veracity of his opponents’ statements.) The church staffer who posted this on his facebook was obviously ardently against the bill, and his reasoning was akin to someone who watched a few hours of Glenn Beck and Bill Oreilly. 

What shocks me is that there seems to be almost NO ONE who is willing to look for a common ground.  Everyone rushes to support or condemn the next idea out of the president’s or the pundit’s mouths.  There is almost no meaningful dialog happening, just a war of clips and sound blurbs. 

When it comes down to it someone needed to pick the common ground and start from there.  The common ground shared by a vast majority of americans seems to be that Health Care costs are spiraling out of control, insurance can drop who they want, when they want with little more reason than saying that they have met a lifetime quota, are too sick, or had a preexisting condition. 

I read an article last week that said that Research and Development made American Health Care the best and thus we saw the lowest infant mortality rates in the world as well as communicable disease mortality.  However, because of the cost of this R&D, more and more people have been priced out of health care, and now infant mortality, disease prevention and communicable disease mortality are now becoming very scary numbers. 

There is a problem here.  Hardcore conservatives think that the government should not be the entity to correct the problem and the market will sort itself out.  They believe that consumers will drop insurance policies to the point that the insurance companies will lower their rates.  But this is not happening.  It might eventually happen, but people will get sick and die in the meantime.  What has been happening is that the insurance companies raise their rates to compensate for their lost profits. They tighten their regulations and only insure the healthiest people.  They have found a way to continue to increase profit without actually providing the service. 

Conservatives have been using the term “government takeover of health care” but is this really accurate?  The government mandates the safety of many of the products I eat and use.  They tell me how to drive and what I am allowed to drive.  They tell me what I am or am not allowed to eat.  They will not allow drug companies to sell me a drug without a prescription.  They regulate what is broadcast over television, what type of words can be said.  Conservatives are begging the government to restrict who is and is not allowed to marry and divorce.  They mandate how much school we are required to attend and what is taught in those schools.  They regulate police protection and fire protection. 

But now they are mandating that I HAVE TO have health insurance.  And this makes conservatives very angry.  They don’t seem to be arguing that we are all required to own car insurance.  And that we are required to be licensed to operate a car.  I guess I don’t quite understand.

Believe me though, even when I am saying that conservatives are being a bit ridiculous, I am not fully on the side of the democrats.  I am just saying that I think that conservatives are overstating their case in order to stop any progress from happening in any way for President Obama and a democrat controlled congress. 

Personally, if you were to ask me.  I completely believe that because of how far our country has traveled from when the founding fathers came up with their ideals, we can  not hold to the letter of their every intention.  When they penned their famous words, many of them had slaves, and the religions that they practiced only had slight variances under a basic Christian principle.  They were absorbing land for free, taking it from the natives who lived here.  Certainly we can’t live like that. 

I saw a post on facebook by another conservative friend of mine who linked to a photo of a tea party protester who was holding a sign saying: “Don’t give them my money.  Give them my work ethic!”  There must have been 30 comments under this photo of people saying how “right on” it is.  People were saying that people without health care, have obviously chosen to not attend college or get a steady job and thus don’t have the option because of their own poor choices.  I want to introduce them to so many friends that I have, some of whom did not attend college, but work harder than most people that I know.  And the ones that did attend college are getting jobs with no health benefit, or a very lame one. 

The guy who helped in our yard in Phoenix, was hispanic, but an american citizen.  He and his wife worked as hard as anyone that I know.  They cleaned houses and did yard work.  He battled rattlesnakes and scorpions, he cut palms down from tall trees in 110 degree weather.  They could not afford health care.  Is that the American dream?  If their baby has a fever, they have to go to the ER and sit for 10 hours (literally).  If he hurts his back, he goes to the ER for 10 hours and pays $200 to get referred to a specialist who he can not afford.  And because he has a poor health history, even if he could pay for insurance, he would probably be bumped out because he has preexisting conditions. 

We live in a system of inequality.  Republicans and Dems have to face it.  We do.  Because of poor choices that our country has made, there are people at a tremendous disadvantage here.  Can government fix it.  No.  Should it try.  No.  But, for an issue as basic as health care that needs reform for people who do have the money and power as well as the powerless and marginalized.  Should we do something?  In my opinion yes.

Is the health care bill perfect?  No.  I am glad that it will not use public dollars to fund abortion.  I hope that this is regulated well.  But at least it is a starting point.

Glenn Beck can make as many crazy statements as he wants, so can Rush or anyone else.  But if this means that the people that I know will get health care, I am very very happy. 

My prediction is that people will start seeing why this is a good thing sooner than later.  Even though there is a lot of backlash against the dems, I believe that republicans are shooting themselves in the foot by being against everything.  If this bill is seen as a victory or has a marginally good view by the end of 2010, republicans will have a hard time gaining ground against the dems.  Right now, they think that this is inevitable, so it will be interesting to watch. 

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