Health Insurance Reform Slogs Onward

As I learn more and more about the health insurance bills working through the House and Senate the less I like them.  I’m beginning to think they’ve been bastardized to such an extent to be more harmful than beneficial.  With little or no cost controls they have the potential, because they are so misguided in purpose, to cause skyrocketing costs to continue while forcing all of us to buy insurance at these unsustainable levels.  At that point Democrats will be blamed for the bad bill rather than the Republicans who forced the bad policy.  Democrats are walking into a major trap.

I’ve always been a strong supporter of single payer.  I also realize votes don’t exist, as yet, to pass such a bill.  These proposals are bad however and would set reform back for a long period of time (just what the insurance industry wants).  Forcing Americans to do business with firms which have a sordid history of screwing us is bad policy.  The only way such a bill can work is with a robust public option, something which won’t get passed.

Meanwhile Pennsylvanians continue getting hurt by the broken system.  

Under reform in Pennsylvania:

   * 1.3 million residents who do not currently have insurance and 683,000 residents who have nongroup insurance could get affordable coverage through the health insurance exchange.

   * 904,000 residents could qualify for premium tax credits to help them purchase health coverage.

   * 2.2 million seniors would receive free preventive services.

   * 393,000 seniors would have their brand-name drug costs in the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” halved.

   * 151,000 small businesses could be helped by a small business tax credit to make premiums more affordable.

I’m amused by all the commercials on TV fighting this battle, especially the ones using scare tactics against seniors.  Medicare is NOT being cut.  Medicare Advantage, the privatized insurance industry plans developed by Republicans under George W. Bush to further enrich their industry benefactors, is being cut.  It’s being cut because it is 9% more expensive.  Your tax dollars shouldn’t be used to enrich private health insurers.

I’m also curious about the attack ad scaring people about “hundreds of billions in new spending.” There is no new spending on health insurance.  The proposals are about redistributing what is currently being spent and spending it in smarter, wiser, more effective ways.  Fear mongering by spinning is reprehensible.

The solutions are twofold.  Amend the House and Senate bills so they control costs and provide everyone access to a robust public option.  The other solution is allowing the states to pass their own health care reforms including single payer.  If states can opt out of the public option they should be able to form their own solutions to the crisis.

The debate begins and upcoming votes will be difficult because industry owns too many of our legislators.  The solution to that lies at the ballot box next year.  If your Member of Congress or Senator isn’t with you on this issue don’t give them money, don’t give to the DCCC or DSCC or run against them.

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