Health Care Debate

During the Presidential debates, both Barack Obama and John McCain agreed that every American had a right to affordable health care. They differed on their approaches, but not on the imperative. Now, six months into his administration, with the different parties (not just political ones) digging in for a fight, President Obama is calling on America to act, and act boldly to deal with a problem that has been festering for decades.

The President has made health care reform a top priority, and many are saying this will make or break his presidency. Indeed, some in the opposing party, with no real ideas of their own (remember when the GOP was the party of ideas) have decided that if they obstruct this effort they can regain power. They've complained about a lack of bipartisanship, but I've really not seen any big ideas flowing from their side into the conversation.

So, tonight, even as health care costs and insurance rates continue to rise at an every expanding rate, the President will go before the press and seek some traction. The press, for their part, not wanting to be used for such purposes will surely try to turn the conversation elsewhere. Republicans will say that the sky is falling and that health care reform will bankrupt the nation or suggest that health care reform will take away choice and lead to long lines. And, some Democrats will just stall.

We often hear about how wonderful the American health care system is. People sneer at Canada and Europe and suggest that this is socialized medicine. And why is this bad? Well, if you have "socialized" medicine, that is government sponsored medical coverage, this apparently leads to lack of choice. But the reality is that for most Americans there is really little choice. You have as much choice as your insurance companies will allow -- if you have insurance. Most private companies don't have to accept people with pre-existing conditions. And, because much health coverage is employer provided, if you move, change jobs, or lose your job you likely will lose your health coverage. In addition, from the statistics I've read, health care crisis marks the highest cause of bankruptcies in America -- and a majority of those who go into bankruptcy have health insurance -- it's just that the insurance doesn't cover enough. As for the millions who are without health care coverage and they swamp the ER's, who must treat people.

Do I have the answers? No, but something must be done, and soon. We've been arguing about this for decades. I remember having these conversations in High School, back in the 70s. Everyone was worrying about socialized medicine (especially my friends whose parents were doctors). Things have changed little -- but the costs have become overwhelming.

Now, as for me and my household, I have health care coverage for the family. It's expensive and it doesn't cover everything. So, my choices are limited. Indeed, the only people who really have choice are those who have high end employer provided health care (and that's diminishing every year) and the rich (have you been watching Royal Pains on USA?). If you've got money you can get whatever you want.

I don't envy the President on this issue, but I appreciate his willingness to step up to the plate and take a stand. Hopefully, Congress will act soon -- probably not by the end of August, but hopefully before the campaign season begins, when nothing will get done. It has to be done by the end of this year or it won't happen. So, act. It's a moral imperative -- for the health and well-being of the people is at stake.


Anonymous said…
I know we have debated each other on Obama for awhile, but I sadly see in recent weeks the fear I had with Obama. First, what is Obama proposing? He hasn't put forth a real plan yet.. only an idea. He was quoted as saying he hasn't read the House plan. I can't help but feel at times he is a puppet in all of this. He didn't craft the stimulus package, rather left it up to Congress. Now its being judged as too slow and too much pork.

Do we have universal healthcare now.. yes we do. If you have a gun shot wound, you will be cared for in the US. The problem with government health care is the questions that aren't being asked. Will abortions be covered? (what a mine field!) What happens if your daughter has a 20% chance to live and needs a procedure than costs 100s of thousands of dollars. Do we do that? Who decides?
There are incredibly hard questions that must first be answered and a "Rahm-ed" through bill that absolutely has to be done by August is no way to do it. I fear the Trojan horse and once approved, it opens up into a huge mess of political driven ideals.
Do we need changes? Of course.. but SLOW DOWN AND THINK before we act!!

Brittanicus said…
It tends to make a lot of good people despondent and at the least susceptible, when they read, watch and listen to the maverick storm of media ads, thumping down President Obama's health care initiative? Much of the rambling artifacts are the Simon and Lois ads of the Clinton administration, heavily armed against any revisions in this issue that wealthy insurance companies and subsidiaries won’t tolerate.

They insulted the senior citizens with their propaganda and bald faced lies about the European government run health care system. Being originally an Englishman myself, I guarantee in the 1960's, we had a unique form of medical services, inclusive of eye and teeth. Even government run medical care in Australia was exceptional. It did plummet down somewhat, when business starting recruiting foreign labor from the commonwealth and Northern Europe. Many were out for a free financial ride and got it, along with their large families that British citizens have to support with their limited pounds sterling.

Just as the anti-governmental health care extremists have been pounding the airwaves, the open border, globalist is now subjecting the American people to a torrent of inflaming immigration polls. But like all polls they can be intentional manipulated, in exactly how the questions are worded? Sure they can keep their co-pays, deductibles and pre-existing small-print clauses, squeezing every penny from a hurting economy, but tell the--BLOODY TRUTH!

It's a sad fact that you cannot trust the Liberal slant regarding this searing problem, although not all Liberals are favorable to another AMNESTY? The Democratic leadership, hiding liberal views behind closed drapes tried to annihilate any good, workable illegal immigration enforcement laws. In an earlier session of the Senate an error was made with E-Verify, so it's was fortunate to survive Sen. Reid and Pelosi’s notion? Anything that has an impact on removing illegal immigrants is intercepted by business oriented free traders.

GOOGLE---illegal immigration--to find out their sinister intention, to just throw open the gates, ports and airline entrances to cheap labor, that also become the downfall of the European Union. the polling I have seen has been calculatedly --ENGINEERED--to get results, that they can brandish around, declaring the majority of Americans believe in a path to citizenship and open borders? Already the Democrats are ready to flag the Save Act, 287(g) local police enforcement to weaken these laws.

Currently both issues have heavy fallout, and you the voter should let your Senator or Representative know your opinion on either matter at 202-224-3121---BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. Both have massive consequences in costs and quality of life in your future and generations to come.WE MUST SAY NO AMNESTY! SEAL OUR BORDERS AND NO MORE FREEBIES TO ILLEGAL ALIENS. THEY ARE THE CRIMINALS, NOT AMERICANS WHO SACRIFICE TAXES? GOOGLE--NUMBERSUSA for details our government and the media have a nefarious talent, for keeping facts under wraps?

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A couple of things in response.

1. It is interesting that Obama is accused of not having a plan, and that he's letting Congress do the job (though you also accuse him of "Rham-ing" this through. When the Clinton's proposed health care reform in 1993, they were accused of doing this behind closed doors without consulting Congress. This time, Obama does the opposite and he's damned. So, which is it? As I understand it, he wants both houses of congress to come up with bills and he will then work with the reconciliation process to get what he wants.

As for health care provisions. Yes, if you're injured you can go to an ER, but what if you have chronic illnesses or need an operation?

As for who decides? Who decides now? Remember Terry Schiavo, Bill Frist wanted to offer his intervention after watching a video and Jeb Bush wanted to overrule the judges.

As for abortion, well it's legal, and it's paid for by insurance now, I expect. Do you like it? Well, what if you're a pacifist and oppose war, do you get to opt out of paying taxes on the Department of Defense? I expect not.

As for slowing down -- Richard Nixon (a Republican President) proposed a much more ambitious program to cover all Americans in 1974 by expanding medicare to cover all. That was 34 years ago, and this isn't near as ambitious as that. So, when do we act? Slowing down only allows opponents more time to retrench. In the meantime medical care becomes more and more problematic for middle income Americans.
Mystical Seeker said…
Your example of Richard Nixon illustrates the truism that he was the last liberal president. He also floated a proposal at one point to give a guaranteed minimum income to all Americans (which was, ironically, somewhat similar to George McGovern's $1000 proposal that was so derided by conservatives in the 1972 election). Both political parties have moved to the right since those days, and the political center has thus shifted to the right as well.
Anonymous said…
B/c abortion is legal we should pay for it????!?!?!? Are you even sure current plans cover it now? I don't know. There a lot of things legal that I don't think we should pay for!! I am sort of stunned at how to respond to that retort.

Your other points are good ones.. I just ask the simple question. What are you supporting? "reforming health care" isn't an answer. How about this.. government pays for NOTHING and we cut checks to people instead. They can spend on whatever they want.. surgeries or xboxes. All are legal.. we will let them decide. It will save so much money it won't even be funny. People who don't get coverage won't get treated... it will free up so much capacity. It will be like cars.. if you afford it, you get it, if not.. sorry.

I'm really stunned. I'm not sure I know how to respond. Health care is like cars, if you can afford it great, if not well sorry. Health care is something that affects us all. If my neighbor gets sick from some contagious disease and remains untreated, that could lead to me getting sick.

But more to the point, I'm wondering here about matters of justice or of compassion (I see no compassion in this answer whatsoever).

I remember conservatives wailing about taking Terry Schiavo off her feeding tube, even though she had been kept artificially alive for nearly 10 years. Who paid for that? The government likely paid for it, or we paid for it through higher insurance rates. Someone paid for it, and surely it wasn't her family.

So, what do I want to see happen? I'd like to see as universal coverage as possible. I'd like to see a public option that would compete with private options. I'd like to see our medical records computerized. I'd like to see us put a focus on preventative care. I'd like us to look into why there are more specialists today than family practitioners (profit motive, I expect). Those are a few!
Anonymous said…
Ok.. I call truce.. the abortion option is such a hot topic. The better analogy would be.. do you add in plastic surgery? What if your daughter has low self esteem and wants an "enhancement".. who covers that?

The main reason I jump up and down to go slow is two reasons. Number one.. ask Massachusetts how its universal coverage is going. Its been a DISASTER, the governor has broke the state, and will not be reelected. I don't disagree on computerized records, etc.. but that doesn't cost ONE TRILLION dollars either.

Spoke to a doctor and he said the two most expensive phases patients are premature babies (no issue there) and people on life support. Personally.. I disagree with keeping everyone on the machine as long as possible. Best quote I heard was "If God is calling them home, why do you keep pushing His hand away".

As for compassion.. there are tons of options we could over with one trillion.. food/housing/etc.. its breath taking to see how much good we can do with that money. Final commnent... you are BREAKING doctors by not capping medical lawsuits. That is a KEY KEY KEY issue that the president will NOT consider and thats a shame.


I'm assuming that any health insurance option would not cover cosmetic surgery. I know for a fact that my insurance doesn't (didn't) cover things considered cosmetic. So, I don't expect that this would be in a public option either. I guess the question is: what does medicare cover now? I'm assuming a public option would look something like it -- except maybe covering for maternity.

On end of life -- I think we need to have a conversation in our churches about when is it time to bring things to an end. It's unfortunate that a great many folks die in a hospital with tubes stuck everywhere. You can keep a person alive artificially for ages. Hospice offers a much better way. If illness is terminal we move to palliative care, which includes pain management. Let nature take its course in the most comfortable way possible. Much more cost effective.

As for lawyer's fees, I'm in agreement -- and that conversation will likely be on the table. I would assume. If it gets him the bill, he'll accept it.

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