- Politics and Social Issues
An Independent Voters View on Health Care Reform
What We're afraid of....
Dear Mr President, and The Congress of The United States
I recently attended a town hall style meeting in Savannah Georgia conducted by my congressman Mr Jack Kingston, (R) Ga. While it did not degenerate into a shouting match at any point, there was in fact a fair bit of emotion shown by those attending. I do believe the current administration and house and senate leadership have found another third rail in the political realm here.
As an independent voter I am not particularly tied to any party but lean conservative in most things. I think it’s partly a function of my age, and partly my discovery of a freedom to vocalize support or non support of political ideology that for so many years was repressed (by necessity) in the Military. I’ve had bones to pick with both parties at different times, but if you want a gauge of my politics I think the two best presidents of the 20th Century were Ronald Reagan and John F Kennedy, both of whom I consider to be in the Top Five of all time. When I vote I ask myself who, of the candidates, do I think will do what’s right for the country, not necessarily right by me, or in their personal interest, but when the chips are down what’s right for the country.
With that in mind I say to the members of the House of Representatives, you’d better be glad you’ll get a chance to do a reconciliation bill with the Senate; because to be honest with you, HR 3200 appears to create more problems than it fixes and reeks of ill advised political dogma. Now to be fair, the other side is sending out ambush email that is attributed to www.economicpolicyjournal.com, a site that doesn’t exist (more Urban Legend). Correction: Apparently had some network problems while doing my research Sorry economic policy journal, The site does exist but I still could not find the substance of the email on this site. This email tends to generate an awful lot of hostility but does ask some painful questions. If the house committees that wrote it (HR 3200) placed a bit more of the interests of the country ahead of their politics I am certain it would have come out better.
Now it’s the Senates turn and I will update this after it comes out of committee. I hope they do a better job; and it is to them I offer the following advice.
Most of America do recognize the need for some reform in the system. But we will not stand for another bureaucracy to support a mediocre program. IF you really feel the necessity to do that, use one you already have in place and let more people in on it. Say for instance Medicaid. Just means test it differently and set some premiums state by state. Then if say California wants to include illegal immigrants well they’ll have some incoming premiums to help pay for it. No need to change or create a new bureaucracy; just tweak that one. That will appease the insurance lobby cause then like Medicare and Tri Care programs they can create a supplemental plan that folks will have to pay extra for.
You could do the same with say Tri Care (The Military Health Insurance Program) by including more people in the programs you would significantly reduce the subsidized military premiums, and maybe even our supplemental premiums. Yes folks, for those of you that didn’t know Military Health care is not always free. This is the one that really has the most potential to add to the regional exchanges (a good Idea) since it is subsidized by the Government but managed by Civilian Health Care Insurers under contract. You already have the regions set and the inclusion would only add marginally to the bureaucratic costs, might even generate some savings by inclusion.
Mr Senator, you had better require every member of congress and their staff to join whatever plan you come up with. Folks, that’s called leading from the front. If you want more choices for yourself and your family that’s fine. Just not on my dime. That will be required for my future vote. Or you could just open up the federal employee benefit plan to all, (regional exchanges might still be viable) and let more insurers compete in that market place. If the Law doesn’t allow that now; change it; that’s what you’re there for.
What ever you decide, the fundamentals are this, we want good coverage, done by private insurers, (subsidized for the American Citizens or Legal Residents that can’t afford it otherwise, (think Vouchers)). We still think our employers should be the primary avenue of access, but allow them to keep the insurers competitive by access to the regional exchange. End of life care decisions need to be made by families, in private or in consultation with the doctor they trust. You can not let that be a government decision by proxy.
Mr. President you could help too by engaging Governments like Canada that have strong armed our pharma companies into providing generics before the patent runs out. If there was one world price for say, Darvon, the patent could be shortened and everyone would be equal in access and cost. Additionally sir, while we recognize the need for reform, like dropping pre-existing condition clauses, we want it done in an American way. If you look carefully overseas you find that the single payer systems are mostly disasters waiting to happen, and they do happen regularly when people need the care the most. Even the best of them (single payer systems France for example) have to have supplemental private plans to get good managed affordable care! Now if they are so good why do they need a supplement? Why do folks I know that have to use these plans go to private doctors when they can afford to? So put those comparisons away and cherry pick what they do right and help our insurers privatize it. Subsidize medical technology and the technical security so our records are secure and private. We independent voters are focused on your promise to do it better in a cost efficient way. Be prepared to veto the first attempt, If you do so President Obama; I promise to keep the pressure up on my reps to make a good program even if it takes till next year or the year after.
Finally to the Democrats in the house, you may want to consider new leadership; HR 3200 is a ‘camel’ of a plan. A camel is horse designed by committee, the result being its a creature, that ultimately gets the job done, but unlike a horse, is ugly, eats more food, drinks more water, makes you seasick when you ride it, is mean spirited, stubborn and bites the hand that feeds it. It’s a shame the various committees and the speaker ever let this crap see the light of day. Get with the Senate this fall and fix this stuff…
While I am an Independent voter, and because I'm an independent voter, I only claim to speak for myself. However I would remind you that there are more of us than either of the political parties can claim for membership. If an old Army Non Commissioned Officer thinks this way I'd bet there are a fair few others that do as well. By the way, I’ve got some thoughts on Cap and Trade get back to you on that one soon
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