Well, here we go again, folks. More non-stop lies about the future of health care reform legislation. There is no question that our “friends” in the health insurance industry are in a panic. They know that they must fight health care reform tooth and nail or they will end up losing their multi-million dollar bonuses and you will get the health care that you deserve and need.
A guy by the name of Tom Miller has written a book on it for the American Enterprise Institute. You know who they are. They are the leading stooges for the health insurance industry. Someone named Grace Marie Turner, of the health-insurance-industry sponsored Galen Institute is also out on the hustings earning her few pieces of silver trying to see how they can kill more sick Americans.
By the way, if you don’t like that kind of language, do your own research. You’ll come back and tell us to be more vicious, not less. The health insurance industry is heartless. They have to be. It is not a business in which you make more money by paying for more procedures. You make money by denying procedures. if you were not cold and heartless, there would be no reason for one of these companies to hire you.
Grace Marie Turner, of the Right Wing Galen Institute, as slick an operator as ever bought a lunch in Washington, says that the Neocons spent a year trying to explain the new health care laws, but Americans were confused, so it passed quickly over the objections of the majority of the American people. That’s bunk. Here are the facts.
From early 2009 and to the Spring of 2010, the Democrats spent a year studying and putting into committee a piece of legislation that the Republicans, working with the health care industry, never stopped trying to scuttle. They offered hundreds of non-germain amendments, irrelevant stuff and amendments with a poison pill in them. Neocons were there, trying to scuttle the legislation.
In other words they spent almost all their time submitting amendments which, if voted on, would require that the legislation start over, or study something for years, or cost huge amounts of money, or anything that would impede the process. Even so, something like 40 amendments were restructured to be included in the legislation. So the Republicans can hardly say that they did not know what was in it. Saying that is like saying to the American people, “Oh, we didn’t know that our laundry was ready because so many people have laundry.”
And as far as the American people not knowing what was in the legislation and not approving of it? That is not surprising. People like Sarah Palin and Senator Chuck Grassley, supposedly responsible citizens, were out peddling the idea that there were “death panels.” They were out peddling the idea that this was a socialist program, a “government takeover” of health care.
With this barrage, about 100% of Republican true bloods were against it. (And you can bet that all of them had health care insurance through some employer.) And enough Independents were against it because of all the propaganda, that it was only about 50% popular. But the kicker was that when you told people the truth about it, well over 70% of the people, whether they already had good health care or not, were in favor of it.
So…are you surprised…another lie from Neocons? People do know what it means and people do want secure, good, affordable health care and this is it.
Let’s take the argument again that the whole thing was done in secret and no Republican legislator knew what was in it. The timeline went something like this: The President came into office in January 2009 with 760,000 people going onto unemployment rolls that month. His focus was to get a stimulus plan into place. That–rather than being a patriotic, mutual effort with Republicans, was forced into another big tax cut for the rich in order to get job-creating legislation for the middle class and the poor.
As soon as that was done, in late March of 2009, the President set as his next target the health reform bill. Insurance premiums and health care costs had doubled in ten years. They were going up at 15% per year on average and 47 million Americans were without health care insurance. Five hundred thousand Americans each and every year were going bankrupt because of health care bills that they simply could not afford to pay. A one-day stay in a hospital was costing upwards of $20,000 and multiple-day stays were bankrupting the American people.
After an entire year of wrangling and irrelevant amendments and fighting and votes to try to table the legislation, after a huge propaganda campaign against it and after $400 million spent by the health care industry to buy legislators, which proved easy for Republicans…they don’t care about the American people…it was Christmas every day of the week for greedy Neocon Senators and Congressmen.
So the President said…enough. Let’s have a face-to-face meeting on health care, and to make sure it is transparent, we’ll put it on television. They did…in late February of 2010. That’s almost a year from when the whole thing started. And the Neocons say that they didn’t know what was in the legislation? What were they doing for an entire year?
At this meeting, they had a chance, if they didn’t know, if they had been asleep at every single one of the thousands of committee meetings on the legislation, they could have asked specifics and countered them. They didn’t. Right in front of the American People, they said that they wanted to start over…now, suddenly, a year later…they wanted to scrap everything and start over.
They had a plan, they said. We learned what it was, because it was very simple. They wanted to do something about medical malpractice suits. If a doctor cut off the wrong arm or cut off a leg when he was supposed to be removing an appendix, you would get $250,000. And you might get a little more for pain and suffering….but the whole idea of being paid for being crippled and unable to work for the rest of your ife…well, that was just bad luck and we all have bad luck from time to time.
The rest of the plan was basically, health savings accounts. You contribute your money to the federal government and instead of buying you guaranteed health insurance, you get a guaranteed $8,000 or so a year to buy health insurance, if you can get it. If the health insurance companies won’t sell to you, that’s too bad. If they refuse to pay, that’s too bad. If they drop you that’s too bad. If they only pay 50% and you have to pay 50% of a ten-day hospital bill of $200,000, even with insurance…that’s too bad. That was the Republican plan.
The Republicans were demolished on television. They showed pretty clearly that they had no plan. Numerous reports had appeared all over the press and on NBC,CBS and MSNBC that they had taken obscene amounts of money from lobbyists to try to defeat the plan. But it didn’t work. So now, they are still in denial and Ms Turner and Mr. Miller of the AEI, and every Republican congressman are trying to urge repeal.
The Neocons say that the health care reform bill will add more cost to the Federal government. This is not true. The Congressional Budget office has told us that it will be a net reduction in the debt by over one trillion dollars over ten years. Even if it were revenue neutral, the idea is to get affordable healthcare to what was 30 million people when the plan was being debated, but is now apparently another ten million more who have no insurance.
Of course, when Wall Street creates an enormous disaster, which it did recently, losing about half of all the projected wealth of the country through speculation and collapse, and then when Republicans refuse to pass legislation to keep it from happening again, many Americans have a right to be skeptical of the good intentions of these legislators.
When Neocons give tax breaks of $800 billion to billionaires and millionaires and then cry poverty…it is foolish and frankly stupid to believe that they really care about the national debt. When they will now allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices the way that the VA does, or other organizations, because Bush made a deal with the pharmaceutical companies to give them a $600 billion windfall over the next ten years….then who should believe them?
So now they turn to Paul Ryan, a supposedly sincere, if not too bright young man, who earnestly wants to reduce the national debt. And what does this have to do with health care? Health care costs are bankrupting Medicare, he says. Well, no shit, Sherlock. We just described how George W. Bush and the Republicans added a prescription drug bill, Medicare Part D, to Medicare and that adds another $60 billion a year to Medicare. Start with that.
By the way, the reason for part D was that senior citizens could not afford their prescription drugs. So rather than forcing the pharmaceutical companies to charge fifty cents for a pill in the U.S. that Germans pay fifty cents for but Americans were paying $2.00 for, the Neocons came up with this proposal that only passed by one Republican vote and then only two hours after the deadline for votes had passed and only after the Republican House member was told that his son could take his House seat when he retired.
Paul Ryan voted for that. He voted for two tax cuts for billionaires and then, this year, when he is hollering about the national debt, he voted for another tax break for billionaires. He voted for two wars and no tax cuts. He voted against health care reform, for the screwball Republican health care plan in February 2010, that everyone, even the Republicans, dismissed as just window dressing.
He voted against reforming Wall Street. He voted in every possible way against the People.
So why would he have any credibility at all? His plan does away with Medicare. It substitutes vouchers, that is checks for a certain amount, probably around $8,000 which you will pay for in your paycheck just as you do now for Medicare, but all you get is a check that may only pay for half of your health insurance premiums, or half of your medical costs, or may result in bankrupting you.
The Obamacare system will give you a guaranteed Medicare payment when you turn 65, and will guarantee that you will have medical coverage of at least a minimum amount before that age. It guarantees that you will have coverage, that you cannot be turned down and that you will not be bankrupted by the costs. This is what every other advanced nation in the world has.
We are ranked 36th among all industrialized nations in the delivery of health care to our citizens. Before Reagan, we were the envy of the world. No where else could Americans get health care treatment better than here.
When you have a standardized system, like Germany, Switzerland, France, the Scandinavian countries or others, you have lower costs. Health care as Dr. Kenneth Arrow said so many years ago, is not about making money. You cannot have a for-profit business in health care because it is contradictory.
We need to follow the good advice and example of these countries, throw the money changers out of the temple of medicine, and work toward Obamacare…affordable,reliable, health care for all. Do not let the Neocons scare you. It will not work if we are all well versed in the facts about health care reform.