Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Health care reform: It's not time to get out the tar and feathers...yet

Desert Beacon in Nevada puts it far better than I can here...but that's not going to stop me from trying anyway. :)

Most of the recent developments regarding health care reform in the Senate have been disheartening to those of us who support substantive reform.

Between Joe Lieberman behaving as if he is relevant, the death of a single-payer plan, and the way that the Senate plan has morphed from a plan to "reform" health care to a plan to "enhance" insurance industry profits, it's easy to be discouraged.

Don't be, not yet anyway.

This whole mess still has to go to conference committee to be merged with the bill that passed the House.

What is more important than the Senate bill is the final bill, the one that reaches the President's desk.

Many people in the center and on the left may not understand that, but you can be sure that the Republicans understand it all too well. They are less interested in seeing that a "bad" bill passes the Senate than in seeing *no* bill pass the Senate.

They know that it is easier to fix the shortcomings in a bad program than to start one from scratch (witness the months-long kerfluffle over health care reform).

Now is the time for all of us to contact our representatives in Congress again (I know a couple of office staffers who aren't going to be happy about that line :)) ) and let them know that the only acceptable reform is real reform, not an insurance industry wish list. Let them know that their constituents need them to stand strong in supporting substantive reform.

We've given up on single-payer (with all due respect to Senator Sanders, his amendment was never going to pass even if he hadn't withdrawn it). but a non-mandatory public option is a must, and it's a reasonable compromise.

Well, "reasonable" to most anyone who doesn't work for the insurance industry, like Jon Kyl, John McCain, and Joe Lieberman (ok, so it's Lieberman''s wife who works for the industry. He works for her.)

We can get that in conference, but first, we have to *get* to a conference committee.

For that, we need the Senate to pass *something.*

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (CD8) can be contacted via this online form.

Congressman Raul Grijalva (CD7) can be contacted here.

Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (CD1) can be reached here.

Congressman Harry Mitchell (CD5) has a contact form here.

Congressman Ed Pastor (CD4) can be reached via this generic House contact form.

I'm not bothering to list the contact info for any of the Arizona Republicans in the House or Senate. They've all made it clear that they are opposed to any form of health care reform, or at least any that isn't structured to increase insurance company profits and reduce choice for average Americans. If you want to contact them, then use a search engine to find their official websites and work from there.


Thane Eichenauer said...

At this point I normally assume that people who advocate for more government are sincere in their goals and just mistaken as the what is effective in the real world. Increasing choice (via government) for some means reducing choice for others (because it has to be paid for out of somebody's pocket).

Government cannot create more health care. It can take money from some folks (who will then have less money with which to make health care choices) and use it to pay for a government program to pay or provide health care for others.

As for the wrap up, the desire to pass "something" - why? If any or all of the parts of the bill are good, feel free to make 5 different bills out of it and put them to a vote.

I was listening to the local modern day liberal talk radio show tonight who was stating he was starting to gin up a dislike for Barack Obama because he hasn't done enough to expand government health care.

All this angst over coverage that - from what I gather on the radio and the internet - isn't even going to be effective for 4 years.

All I can say is that Obama wishes to spend enough money to pay for 30,000 more US troops in Afghanistan and that money could have stayed in the pockets of US taxpayers who need to pay for doctor visits, medicine and hospital care.

I'll believe that Democrats want to improve health care when they have stopped voting for unneeded warfare in countries that would best be left alone.

Elizabeth Rogers said...

I know that Thane here believes that government can do little right but if you are for efficiency, how can have a single US risk pool to spread costs be a bad thing? Currently Medicare is the most effective at having low costs per dollar(3 cents on the dollar) so to be against a single payer system would appear to be in favor of inefficiency.

Thane Eichenauer said...

Elizabeth Rogers, when discussing government monopolies, there is no such thing as efficiency.

If a someone has paid taxes for his whole life and becomes eligible for services and wishes to have a doctor treat him that Medicare does not approve of (say an acupuncturist) or charges more than Medicare allows (again he would have been able to pay for if he hadn't been taxed for decades) then he has been gypped - those approved services may be theoretically efficient but he has been efficiently denied his preferred treatment which may have been cheaper in the end than those available to Medicare patients if he had simply been allowed to make his own choice in the first place.

Single payer means that the government chooses and the individual gets what the government decides for him. Those two choices may overlap but the fact that it overlaps for some doesn't mean an injustice doesn't occur as a result for others who want a choice the government doesn't offer.