The Opposition To Health Care Reform
Although we strongly support the important reforms made by the Senate-passed health reform package, including a strong public option would improve both its substance and the public’s perception of it,” Bennet wrote to Reid in a letter cosigned by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
Saying Americans don’t want health care reform with a public option is like saying we don’t want private schools without a public school option. It makes little sense. Odds are, even if you don’t want it, you’ll make good use of it when it’s implemented, just like other Americans who desperately need it.
Three months ago I wrote a blog called 20 Things To Consider About Healthcare Reform with the intention of bringing to light some of the most glaring detractors that stand in the way of health care reform from my limited point of view. I’m talking about true health care reform. I won’t consider it true reform unless it includes a public option. With the unregulated flow of false information clogging the political grapevine, most people are too far gone to understand that even with a public option the majority of health care provisions will remain under private ownership. Private insurers will retain their stock and those against the public option can opt to stay with their current insurance providers. Insurance companies may even feel compelled to raise costs while lowering premiums for the sake of competition, which points to the root of the problem.
The majority of Americans that stand to benefit from a public option are the working and middle class. Republicans in general seem to have great disdain at being painted as poor or working class even when their particular demographic suggests so. It’s not that there are no poor or uninsured Republicans, they simply won’t admit to it. As if considering oneself Republican immediately raises you above the social bar. It speaks to an imaginary wealth that only comes with conservative inclusion into its elite “good old boys” club. There is a false sense of singular importance among [some] working and middle class Republicans that trickles down from [some] of the self-serving, corporate interests that pollute the disgruntled, extreme, conservative upper class, i.e., Palin & Co.
When the party with the least members not only threatens to, but through alternate means carries out the obstruction of highly important legislative measures filtering through Congress, then there are serious problems. Where there’s a threat to filibuster a reform bill of this magnitude, then it should be done in the standard way. Legislatures have every right to endorse the plan they believe works in the best interest of their constituents. However, we already know the public option is supported by the majority of the house, the majority of the senate, the President of the United States and a majority of his constituents. So what’s the problem?
There exists an incredible lack of bipartisanship in Washington. Another issue of concern is the Republican use and abuse of the filibuster in ways never before seen. A filibuster is an effective way to obstruct or prevent a vote from occurring on what is normally considered an important or standard piece of legislation. They threatened to filibuster the health care bill unless certain aspects were revised, removed or reinstated. In response, Democrats should exert their power by way of a process known as reconciliation, which is a severely restrictive means of circumventing a filibuster. It only requires a simple majority to pass, however that could cause some key things to remain out of the bill, such as requiring insurers to accept people with pre-existing conditions. In essence, it would shut out the minority party – Republicans – but it would likely invoke increased negative reaction.
Sadly, fewer and fewer politicians care more about the will of the people than they do about maintaining their jobs. There is a broad range of corporate money and power that comes along with politicking which makes each vote a political opportunity rather than a show of strength and leadership on behalf of ones constituents.
And then there are statements like this, which are all too common now.
“There is absolutely no moral imperative for the gov’t to provide health care to its citizens.”
I beg to differ. They just don’t want all Americanas to have health care. They’re more okay with giving government handouts to small to large corporations than giving it back to the people that are supposed to effect the greatest change and progress. Obama stated that if you like your health insurance, you can keep it. Health care reform isn’t about whether or not conservatives like or even love their health insurance anyway. Every single year there are thousands of people who have paid their insurance premiums yet are denied medical coverage for any number of reasons. Insurance premiums are set to rise across the board this year, 2010, and it’s already happening, yet competition is bad? Some people are seeing their private insurance premiums rise up to 33% increases yet their typical response is to express anger at the government instead of the insurance companies.
The majority of Americans are not wealthy. Not even the majority of Republicans are wealthy. They’re hard working middle class Americans just like their Democrat and Independent counterparts. Sadly, many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford insurance, but there is great resistance on the part of Republicans and a few Democrats (In Name Only) to extend provisions to all. It doesn’t help that insurance companies have an unofficial army of regular, unpaid citizens who passionately lobby on their behalf. Politicians from both sides do the same thing except they’re paid quite well for their efforts on the hill.
What’s worse are conservative talking points generated by miscreants like Limbaugh and Beck whose arguments against health care reform and a public option begin to spread like fire through the conservative ranks, thus creating a whole new crop of unfounded fear. The arguments the conservative working and middle class make against a public option are a result of irrational fear and crass political tactics aimed at spreading lies and misinformation such as the dreaded death panels.
To get the public option reinstated, Democrats will have to have to rely on sheer mental will power, an imposing show of strength and leadership that goes beyond just the idea of hope and change and capitalizes off of the massive support from the American people who have entrusted them to actually implement that hope while keeping the change. The party that shows the least amount of courage receives the least amount of respect. And If there’s one thing Republicans have that Democrats do not, it’s a potent and virile base that respects the party line way more than the party politician. With that said, there’s nowhere for the Democratic party to go but up, however they must grow a pair of cajones first. If they fail, health care reform dies.
image courtesy of aidsconnect.net