Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Health Care Reform, Give The Republicans Their Year And Then Do It Right.

Republicans, including those who call themselves Democrats, are wanting to put off health care reform in order to concentrate on whatever it is that we are trying to accomplish in Afghanistan.  Your guess is as good as mine what that is.

Coincidentally, the troop surge and health care reform cost around the same, 80-100 billion dollars.

I'm all for a MediCare for All type health care system and I believe that the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq should already be on their way home.

However, I could get behind this plan.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) echoed similar sentiments during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday. He suggested to host John King that health care legislation should be delayed until next year to focus on Afghanistan, saying, “The war is terribly important. … So this may be an audacious suggestion, but I would suggest we put aside the health care debate until next year, the same way we put cap and trade and climate change away and talk now about the essentials, war and money.”

Let's say we spend the next year handing George W. Bush's ego wars over to the U.N. and have the troops home in a year.  Let's concentrate on creating jobs during the next year and make that our number one priority.  And let's up the taxes on those lucky few who have benefited while the rest of the country fell futher behind.

I know what you're saying, "Why you ignorant redneck, we need health care reform and we need it now!"  Yeah, I know.  As much as I hate it, we've got to be pragmatic.  It looks more and more like the health care reform bill that we're going to get looks less and less like the health care reform bill that we want.

Democrats control 60 seats in the Senate, precisely the number needed to trump a promised Republican filibuster. While Reid spent most of the day jousting with Republicans, his ability to steer the bill to passage will depend on finding ways to finesse controversial provisions within the measure. None is more important than calls for the government to sell insurance in competition with private firms. Liberals favor the plan; moderate and conservative Democrats oppose it. As drafted the bill establishes a so-called government option, although each state can block it.

I don't really like the appellation "moderate and conservative Democrats".  Let's be honest here, what the media refers to as "moderate and conservative Democrats" are people posing as Democrats who whore their votes out to the highest bidder.  Trust me, Dan Boren is my Congressman so I know a little about these things.

OK, so we spend the next year doing a study of universal health care in all the industrilized countries that have it, that would be all of them btw.  We pick and choose all the things that work well and discard the things that don't work so well.  You know, like we should have done in the first place.  We put it all together in a comprehensive health care reform bill, crunch the numbers, present it as MediCare for All, make sure that our recalcitrant "Blue Dogs" know that they will vote with the Democrats or find somebody else's yard to crap in and let the Right and the special interests whine all they want.

45,000 Americans will die during the next year without health care reform.  Probably about the same will die if we get a crap health care reform bill.  One thing's for sure, without a strong public option the only winners will be the "for profit" health care industry.

Our health care system is failing. It is expensive, bureaucratic, and denies care to many in need. Americans die younger, get less care, face greater restrictions, are less satisfied, and spend at least $1,500 more per person on health care than Canadians or Western Europeans - nations that have opted for non-profit national health insurance.

In the U.S., canons of commerce are displacing dictates of healing, trampling medicine's most sacred values. Market medicine treats patients as profit centers. The time doctors and nurses are allowed to spend with the sick shrinks under the pressure to increase throughput, as though we were dealing with industrial commodities rather than afflicted human beings in need of compassion and caring. Listening, learning, and caring give way to deal-making, managing, and marketing. The primacy of the patient yields to a perverse accountability - to investors, to bureaucrats, to insurers and to employers. And patients worry that their doctor's judgement and advice are guided by the corporate bottom line.

Here's what Physicians for a National Health Program has to say.

Single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private.

Currently, the U.S. health care system is outrageously expensive, yet inadequate. Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($8,160 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates. Moreover, the other advanced nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, while the U.S. leaves 46.3 million completely uninsured and millions more inadequately covered.

The reason we spend more and get less than the rest of the world is because we have a patchwork system of for-profit payers. Private insurers necessarily waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay. Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy. Combined, this needless administration consumes one-third (31 percent) of Americans’ health dollars.

Single-payer financing is the only way to recapture this wasted money. The potential savings on paperwork, more than $350 billion per year, are enough to provide comprehensive coverage to everyone without paying any more than we already do.

We've got to face facts, the Democrats never framed the issue of health care reform.  The Right, the insurance industry and the health care industry did.  There's just too much misinformation out there and too many gullible people who believe it.  So if we have to give the Republicans their year, fine.  As long as we use that year doing the things that need to be done and then finally get the real health care that this country deserves.
I sincerely hope that I'm dead wrong on the health care reform bill and that Congress gives us real reform with a strong public option.  I just as sincerely believe that a compromise health reform bill will be worse than no bill at all.


  1. You make a great argument in a cogent and sensible way. I still think we can do both and need to or the opportunity won't come again, but I like the way you think!

  2. Why is it that the Democrats always have to be pragmatic and the Republicans always get whatever the hell they want?

  3. dropped by to give u a smile =)


  4. This is just a delaying tactic. The GOP is going to pick up seats in 2010, and so they just want to wait health care out.

    We're never going to pass a perfect bill, by anyone's standards. But this bill isn't a constitutional amendment and will be easy to fix by both parties as we see how it works in the field.

  5. Well, this is fine, but how about the other choices we have here? Do you mind making one more post about them also? Thanks!


I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)