DESPITE IT ALL, HEALTH CARE BILL PASSES
Over the weekend, the people who live in the communities surrounding the Red River in North Dakota and Minnesota found themselves suddenly under water. At the same time, most Americans found themselves in a very similar way thanks to another flood of sorts happening in the nation's capitol as the long debated, and controversial health care bill was being passed by the Congress. Unlike the lawmakers in Washington, the folks surrounding the Red River at least have some means to control the rising waters and prevent ongoing damage from the floods. In Washington this is not the case at all. In Washington there are no dikes to be seen. And even while there was clearly a whole lot of sandbagging going on by the democrats in Congress, it wasn't of the floodstopping kind.
The horrible truth is that this bill passes despite all of the obvious protests by most Americans, and all of the massive bipartisan polling that clearly demonstrated that the majority of Americans were opposed to this health care bill in its current form, and pretty much from the get-go. It passes despite all of the obvious misrepresentations as to how the bill will be paid for. It passes despite obvious areas of the CBO report being misread, and misunderstood, which, I should note, were also clearly pointed out several times in the past few days by Wisconsin republican congressman Paul Ryan to no avail. The fact is, that no matter what anyone in the democratic party, or the president himself, has said, this bill is going to cost the American taxpayer enormously. There is simply no way around that. I think every American is all too aware of that fact, even those American's who support the bill.
For all intents and purposes, it's basically a 'who cares' approach by the democratic party to legislation. The democrats are going to get their way, the deal will be done, and President Obama will finally have his health care bill signed into law. But not to worry. According to the latest statement from the democrats this is all fine and good. We just don't know how good this is for us yet. The proof will be in the pudding once its served up. "Over time, we think that the American people, once they get a chance to see it all in action and begin to realize all of the good things this bill will offer, will grow to be very happy with it," they tell us.
This is a bit of an interesting statement in and of itself considering how smart these guys in Washington purport to be, you'd think that somewhere throughout this whole process the American people might have been able to get a general feel for some of these so-called 'good' points in the bill through some Washington articulation before the fact. There was no doubt plenty of time to get the word out and explain it all to us in great detail. The president himself has been on TV more than anyone in the Congress and the Senate combined since he's been in office, it would seem, and he hasn't been able to clarify anything. They (the democrats)apparently knew how great the bill was going to be, and how much it would improve the lives of every American. They certainly told us that enough. So then, why couldn't they tellus what the good points were? Why could we get only vague generalizations? Why did they have to go into back rooms to hash out those good points outside of the scrutiny of the press and the American people, and the republican party for that matter? What's the big secret? Why do we have to wait and see until after the bill is passed how good it will be for us? And what if we figure out that we don't like it after all? Then what? Will we then just get a shoulder shrug, a coy smile, and an "oops" from our leaders?
Seems something sort of like the whole idea behind an arranged marriage, you know? I may not be the apple of your eye today, baby, but one day you're gonna love me. Just you wait and see.
House minority leader, John Boehner, said it all when he said that the White House is not the president's house, but the people's house. It is absolutely clear that no one in the Washington democratic apparatus is of that understanding. It seems more apparent that this is their House, their show, their bill, and by golly the American people are going to have it whether they like it or not.
The sheer arrogance displayed by the democrats throughout this entire ordeal has been as plain to see as the sun on a hot, summer day. I mean, what they seem to say to the American people is that this president is living large and in charge, and he knows better than his constituents what's good for them. Remember his arrogant, and perhaps eventually classic statement to Senator McCain during the so-called health care summit? "Let me just make this point, John, because we're not campaigning anymore. The election is over." He couldn't have been more right.
What he was really saying to Senator John McCain was that he was the president, the democrats were in charge, and so far as he was concerned, the talking points of the republican party, and apparently of the American people, were not important. What I take from that as well, is that essentially he seems to be saying that campaigns are for telling the American people what they want to hear, and after the elections is for telling the American people what they're going to get. Granted, that's how things generally play out heedless of who is in power, but the arrogance in this adminisration, and this current majority control, does seem more pronounced than it has ever been in the past. In the case of the health care bill, all of the wishes of the American people have clearly fallen on deaf ears. In response, I think every American ought to stop sending their money to the IRS at once. They should send hearing aids instead.
I've said it all along that not everything in the bill is bad. I think all of us have acknowledged that at one point or another. The republicans never once said that they just wanted to leave things as they were. They only wanted to have some of their ideas and proposals heard. Something the democrats simply did not want to do, despite all of their proclamations that the republicans were evildoers hell bent on squashing the debate altogether. Yeah, they did want to squash the bill. But not the debate. The system is not broken, but no one is going to say that it doesn't need a little sprucing up. No one can deny that there are indeed valid arguments that support a need for some bit of health care reform. The problem is that not enough of what is needed to truly reform the system and make health care more affordable, and even available, is in it. Take tort reform, for example. Or what about allowing insurance companies interstate competition? Both of these things would greatly reduce the cost of health care to a majority of Americans.
What is good about the bill is the elimination of disallowing insurance coverage to individuals who have a pre-existing condition, something I have always felt was a ridiculous thing. The fact is that almost all health care insurance is provided through employers, and because people have a tendency nowadays to change jobs every five or so years, one will always have a pre-existing condition at one or another point throughout their lives. Health insurance should cover any necessary medical procedure deemed to be necessary by a health care professional.
Interestingly, this little piece of the legislation would have been in the bill no matter what by my estimation. The republicans, and I think most Americans, fully feel that denying someone coverage for a pre-existing condition is simply not the right thing to do.
As an example, consider that I just had a hernia operation. That would now be considered to be a pre-existing condition. If I change employers and ultimately am insured by another insurer, and if, somewhere down the line, I were to have any complications from the surgery, or any other problems or issues with regard to a hernia, I would likely not be covered and would likely have to pay my medical expenses to treat it out of pocket. That simply doesn't make any sense. It's sort of like saying if you crash you're car into the broadside of another car, broadside crashes in the future will not be covered. In the case of dental insurance you might say only one cavity might be covered because now you are predisposed to developing cavities.
No matter how you slice it, it's a dumb policy that should very well be put into the dumpster.
But major legislation should never be about the "lesser of two evils" making it a done deal. There are simply too many other things to consider in this bill. Too many other costs that need to be taken into account. And there are, as well, too many ideas that simply have been left out.
Dennis Kucinich is one such example of a "no" vote defector. "I think it's more important to leave the discussion open for health care," he told Fox News a couple weeks ago. That's his rationale for changing his vote to "yes?" To leave the discussion open?
It doesn't make any sense to me. We could have left the discussion open by going back to the drawing board. We could have left the discussion open by making the process more bipartisan.
Bart Stupak, a long time pro-life democrat who vehemently opposed the bill also defected, even as he told reporters in a news conference following the vote that he felt the abortion issue was a very important one to him. Yet he caved anyway, and now abortions may wind up being subsidized by taxpayers. A thing which is, to me, a horrifying proposition.
What we have is clearly a mess. How we get out of this one is anybody's guess, if we can at all. I guess all we can do now is wait for the happy surprise that seems to be coming our way. I don't know about you, but I can't wait.
Now Congress Wants A Pay Raise???
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