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Health Care Reform or Obstruction. Whom Should You Trust?

March 18th, 2010 · No Comments · Health Care, Politics

On the question of health care, in the absence of actually looking it up yourself, it all comes down to: whom do you believe?

Do you believe the Democrats who have created the health care plan? One could assume that they created it as something for which they will be praised. They certainly realize that there are always elections coming. They won’t find any friends among the health insurance industry.

Or do you believe the Republicans who said from the beginning that they were going to try to defeat it? They voted in a block, in both House and Senate on every single version, except for one, lone House member and then only once. Otherwise they all voted in a block…all Neocon members of the House and all Neocon members of the Senate. In the end, they only came up with their own plan after they were sure that it was far too late to have it enacted.

If you still need more evidence of the way both sides feel, it exists on the web sites of most Congressional members. On her web site, Judy Biggert, Republican of the 13th district of Illinois has her own ideas and a critique of the Democratic proposals.

What you need to do is not ask yourself—is it true what she says—but ask yourself two things. One is this: why would Democratic legislators, who brought you Medicare for seniors (which will now be around at least until 2035, just as it is now only a little better) and brought you Medicaid to help the truly poor and brought you SCHIP for children of poor working families who cannot afford the high cost of private health care premiums—why would they try to hand you some terrible anti-middle class, anti-family program?

The Republicans, on the other hand, think these programs are “Socialist” and tried to vote both of those programs out. Ronald Reagan, in fact, stated categorically that Medicare was the beginning of Communism or Socialism in this country. So, since Medicare was enacted, how did the Socialism that Medicare created work out for the Wall Street crowd over the last 8 years?

Do people in Socialist countries get bonuses in the multi-millions of dollars? Don’t those “Socialist” countries like France and Germany have regulations on stock markets and financial markets so that they can’t cheat the people? Does it sound as though we’ve become Socialist to you? If this health care program is Socialist–since it is going to remain basically the same system–how is your Socialist private health care working out for you? Are you getting the same kind of health care that the Socialist CEO of a major health insurance firm gets on his or her average $14 million a year income?

The second thing to ask yourself is, if the Republicans don’t support health care, then whom do they support? On the one hand you have 31 million people with no health care, plus a huge additional number who will be helped by regulation that will control and monitor the health insurance companies. On the other side you hand the health insurance companies. On one side are most of the doctors, most of the nurses, the AARP, the Unions, (even though they have good private health care plans) and the Democrats. On the other side…the health insurance companies–and the Republicans.

We know some of the things that the Neocons are for. They are for “Drill Baby Drill!” as they put it, for drilling for oil in this country to solve our energy problems. They’re against alternative forms of energy. They are for huge private corporations locating jobs overseas. They are in favor of continuing to import oil from countries that use the money we pay them to recruit and train terrorists to plot against us. They are in favor of privatizing Social Security and recently unveiled a plan to put Medicare on a voucher system, so that you could go out with your little piece of paper and try to negotiate with the health insurance industry. Do any of those things sound like good ideas for the average American? So why would they care about your health?

The Neocon Republicans are skeptics about proven science, but total believers in the exact word of the Bible. They are against climate change even thought 10,000 of the world’s climate experts in the early 1990s, before any of the global warming evidence began to show itself, in melting glaciers or an Arctic Ocean free of ice, predicted exactly what is happening now. Their predictions were not from a ouija board but from scientific measurements over years. So the Republicans are not just against health care reform, but much more.

For example, the Republican Texas school board has now introduced into children’s American history textbooks the idea that dinosaurs and men literally lived side by side at the same time, and that the earth was created only several thousand years ago. In the face of every single bit of scientific evidence, they people deny climate change while apparently also eliminating Thomas Jefferson from their version of history and adding the Scot, John Calvin because his theology coincides more closely with theirs.

This is what comes from the remnants of the old segregationists, the former Democratic Party, the one that switched to the New Neconservative Republican Party when Ronald Reagan said the code words that affirmative action was over in a speech in Mississippi. Lyndon Johnson had said that it was time for a change in the attitudes of our society towards our fellow citizens who happened to be born with darker skin. It was time to consider the aspirations and civil rights of families deprived for four hundred years of the kinds of education and opportunity that the rest of us were given.

The Republicans all over the country were helped by the oil money and other funds provided by people like Tom DeLay. Do you think that people were eager to put Tom DeLay in jail for merely gerrymandering districts in Texas? Tom DeLay was a politician whose goal, like so many in the Neoconservative Party…was complete control of government. The rich will fund it. The Republicans will run it, and the People will serve the government, and Rove and Cheney and Rumsfeld and anyone else who scratches and crawls his or her way to the top of the Republican hierarchy. These people aren’t just against health care reform. They are paid to protect the rich and the large international corporations.

Even someone from some small fishing village in Alaska who has so little information in her head she has to remind herself of what she is going to say with notes scribbled on the palm of her hand may aspire to the top of the Republican ladder! We used to declare that the average housewife’s practicality was what was needed in the White House. Sarah Palin for President? Even vice president was a terrifying thought. Hadn’t we been through enough with George W. Bush. (“Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice….ah…you can’t fool me twice.”) But why is she popular? Because the leaders of the various factions in the Republican Party know that she can be relied upon to follow the Party line. In this case, that means the health insurance industry.

The Neoconservatives also must satisfy the Fundamentalists, the anti-abortionists, (i.e. those who want this decreed for everyone, regardless of beliefs) the rich oil men, and the health care industry, which has looted our citizens and sentenced many to death, plus the military-industrial complex, our biggest manufacturers.

So the whole point about health care is this: whom do you trust? Do you trust someone who has been busy trying to ruin your life, someone who will only allow to be elected a person who will promise to deny science and adhere to fanatic religious beliefs? Do you trust people who are avowed bigots, and who court white supremacists to march with them and appear at their rallies? Do we actually want a society, where one of the dominant forces influencing Republican politicians is the National Rifle Association? The Republicans vote with Wayne LaPierre’s anti-gun control legislation almost 100% of the time. Does a Republican Party that supports a man who says that guns should be not only allowed but encouraged in high schools and universities suddenly change and care about your health care?

These are the same people who are telling you that health care reform is going to damage Medicare when nothing of the sort is going to happen. Nothing. Lies with no substance. So, someone lies to you about something so important, your ability and that of your family to stay healthy. It causes you to write or call your congress person and health care reform…which, let’s say is very good for you, does not pass. What kind of person lies to you so that you will work against a bill that will guarantee you health care, reduce costs, deny insurers the right to keep you from insurance or drop you if you have it.

Can that person be Patriotic? Are they patriots when they try to stop legislation that will keep the health care companies from dropping you or charging you exorbitant rates? When they are against legislation that will begin to bring down health insurance costs, health care delivery costs, and provide health care accessibility for all? How do you characterize someone who will lie to you about your health care and take a campaign contribution (basically a bribe) in return for his or her vote? Is that a Patriot? When does it become unpatriotic to work against the best interests of American citizens?

Especially when all the things that they say on the Internet are lies. Here is what appears on one Republican House Member’s web site This is from the web site of Judy Biggert, Republican, 13th District, Illinois.

Here’s what she says about the health care reform bill. She puts “reform” in quotes. And following each is the truth.

“Up to 114 million Americans will be compelled to enroll into a government-run health plan, according to non-partisan experts.”

First of all, the only government run health plan will be those that already exist, which are Medicare, Medicaid, the Native American system and the Veterans. So those will stay as is, except Medicaid will be improved and more people included in it. There are also some roughly ten billion dollars for community health clinics to be built around the country in areas where there is less medical service right now.

Other than that, this whole statement is, frankly, a lie. Judy Biggert and the Republicans are taking some kind of tangential facts—if at all—and using them to essentially lie to you. The plain fact is that nothing like the situation described, “government-run health plan” or people being “compelled” to do something is true. These are just simply lies.

“Cuts Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare spending, affecting millions of seniors.”

The implication here is that disastrous things will happen. Not so. Medicare will actually be better and stronger. Here is the truth. The government is going to drop the private Medicare Advantage plans altogether. Why? They only do what Medicare does now, but they combine it into one package and sell it differently. It does give a little bit of a break to some seniors, but not even everyone on Medicare Advantage. The only people with an advantage are the health insurance companies. They make billions on billions from this. So these people will go on Medicare–but Medicare, far from being cut, will offer better benefits than before this reform.

Ending Medicare Advantage will save the government hundreds of billions and extend the life of Medicare a minimum of another 9 years. That is important because it is true that Medicare was been treated as the black sheep of the Bush administration (as opposed to multiple wars, the $600+ billion military budget and the huge, hundreds of billions–but secret–CIA budget) and has been under-funded for the last ten years.

“It increases premiums for Medicare Part B and Part D.”

Well, first of all, premiums are set each year. This is the Republicans’ estimate of what will happen. We don’t know what the premiums will be. But we know a couple of things. Part D, the prescription drug portion, will have the gap filled so that seniors will not have to pay the entire cost of drugs out of pocket as they do now when they reach a certain point. That will be eliminated, which will save seniors a great deal of money. Second, Part B depends upon a number of things. Because the Democrats will now pay more to doctors from the government reimbursement funds, there will probably be less pressure to collect it from the co-pay.

So the answer is that there is nothing that says anywhere that premiums will go up. The Republicans are more than likely counting on the historical rise of prices and premiums to make this statement. We know, however, that if we do nothing, as Republicans want, premiums will definitely go up.

“Abolishes the private market for individual health insurance.”

No one anywhere can figure out what this means. There is no basis for it in the legislation, in speeches, in documents, news reports…nothing. The only place you find this is on this web site. The President, whom the Republican liars…documented liars…like to call a “liar” (disgusting perverts), has repeatedly said that anyone who likes his or her private health care plan can keep it. In fact, every single Democrat says this at the beginning of just about every town hall meeting on health care. And what do other governments say? They say we’re nuts.

They urge us to close down the for-profit health providers and make them non-profit, like all the other major countries in the world that still allow private health insurance to be sold. Otherwise, they say, you will always be paying too much for no good reason. Health care is not like other businesses. The better job they do, the less they make on that transaction. Health care is not set up to be a good model for a profit-making business. So, if it does, the people suffer. If the people have great care, the company profits suffer.

(In big, bold letters) “Will Put New Government Bureaucrats Between Doctors and Patients.”

Again, we could find no one who knows the bills in Congress thoroughly who could figure out what this means. It simply is not true. Just take the Veterans Administration, which is not only public—remember most of health care under reform, at least 60% of it will be private—but it is the most government-run system. You sign up. After that you go to a VA facility and you see a doctor, and even if you are referred to someone else, you still see that specialist, not a bureaucrat. The same thing with Medicare. Only the billing goes through Medicare. There is actually less bureaucracy in the public systems than in the private.

This brings up a good point. The Republicans often take some issue and they maintain that the Democrats believe exactly the opposite of their real position. In this example, the Democrats have always said that they are fine with leaving the private system as it is, with some regulations on behavior. The Republicans simply change that by stating that the Democrats want a “government takeover” of health care.

“Creates 53 new boards, bureaucracies, commissions or programs.”

This could be true, but in all likelihood, more like five rather than 53. The new health care delivery system, as a real system for the first time, may require some oversight of the health insurance firms to be certain that they are not cheating by overcharging customers, dropping customers, etc. Again, no one knows where this number comes from.

“Contains no prohibitions on federal bureaucrats denying life-saving treatments for patients.”

This is an interesting one for a specific reason. This is a technique used by attorneys and, in another way, by investigators. It is a semantic exercise. Here’s how it goes. Because there will be no bureaucrats involved between patients and doctors, they could not make decisions on life-saving treatments. Because there are none, there are no prohibitions. Therefore the statement above is true, but the premise is false.

This statement shows the lengths to which the health care industry’s paid Republican supporters in Congress will go to try to discredit the health care reform bill, even though they say that they are for health care reform. If they really were, they would not go to these lengths to try to discredit it.

“Taxes individuals who cannot afford coverage, or do not purchase “bureaucrat-approved” health plans.”

Someone has suggested that this may apply to small businesses. Otherwise it is an out-and-out lie. In the case of small business, there will now be subsidies for providing health care, if the company is a minimum size, something like at least 50 employees or so before the government gets involved. But even in those cases, most small business people will tell you that the 8% penalty is much cheaper than adding health care benefits right now, so it will become much more of a personal business decision after health care reform, which is the way most small business people would want it.

Low income individuals get a subsidy and Medicaid is going to be moved way up. But if people simply decide that they will not have health care insurance, They may be automatically enrolled by virtue of a penalty-tax so that others are compensated for their expenses if they get sick while not insured. “Bureaucrat approved” plans means that now all plans will be required to stop scamming the public and provide at least certain minimum coverage which the medical community has said will provide at least what is needed for basic care.

(Going to short cut this next one.) “…end-of-life counseling services.”

This is the infamous “death panels.” Everyone should know by now what this is and why it was so silly and stupid. And for someone who plans to run for President, like Sarah Palin, to keep running the lie is malicious and irresponsible. No death panels. Merely counseling services to ask the elderly patients how they want to handle things should there be a decision affecting their care if they are in a coma or otherwise can’t make their own decisions. It takes the pressure off doctors, wives or children in making end-of-life decision because they know that this is what the patient, father, mother, etc. has told them they want done.

“According to a model developed by President Obama’s chief economic advisor, up to 5.5 million jobs will be lost.”

Very surprising because this is not what President Obama’s chief economic advisor says. There may be some jobs lost in private health care, and if so, the more the better. The less bureaucratic inefficiency in health insurance firms, the better.

“According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), new tax increases on businesses, including small businesses “could reduce the hiring of low-wage workers” and lead to lower wages for all workers.”

There may be some formula that was requested by Republicans of the CBO that would involve new taxes on business that “could” reduce the hiring of low-wage workers, but since every business has the same requirements, this is doubtful at best and more likely not truthful at all. It will certainly not lead to lower wages for workers because a big hunk of health care costs will now be borne by the government. You can’t say that it is going to add $818 billion in costs and say that there will be no subsidies to see to it that people get better health care. The CBO says that this plan is paid for and will in fact create a substantial cut in government expenditures over both the short run and long run but particularly in the long run.

Summing up some other criticisms it does not create or expand 33 different entitlement programs, nor does it increase the deficit by either $239 billion (which would be acceptable for a good universal health care program actually) or add a trillion dollars in new spending programs. Whatever it adds is paid for by savings. It will cut the deficit by one hundred billion over the next ten years and by one trillion in the next ten years.

As far as the Republican suggestions of ending waste, fraud and abuse, handling medical malpractice reform and allowing citizens to shop in regional marketplaces for the best rates…Judy Biggert must have been sleeping during that session…these things are all covered in the plans already passed by Congress Sorry, Judy, you are a day late and will be a dollar short of your latest health insurance industry payoff.

Once again, the only reason to obstruct a plan, that is cost efficient, that provides the People with what they need, that helps small business, that covers 97% of Americans is to bring aid and comfort to the enemy, which in this case is a health insurance industry that is bloated and arrogant in its attitude towards American citizens.

If you bring aid and comfort to the enemy, what are you called? A traitor?

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