Cynical Synapse

Mon, 09 Nov 2009

Democrats Out of Step; Pass Healthcare Bill in House

Filed under: Bailout, Budget, Citizen rights, Congress, Economy, Government, Medicine, Mental health, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 11:50 pm

US House passes healthcare bill

On November 7th, the US House narrowly passed their healthcare reform bill. The vote was 220 for and 215 against, largely along party lines. In fact, only one Republican, Joseph Cao (LA), voted for HR 3962, titled the Affordable Health Care for America Act. See how your representative voted in Roll Call 887. I can tell you, Michigan’s delegation voted strictly by party, Democrats for and Republicans against. How’s that for independent thinking and voicing the will of their constituents? At least 39 Democrats from other states voted their conscience.

I’m not convinced our healthcare system is the greatest on the planet; I know it has flaws. I also think every human being is entitled to basic health care and that society owes such to its members. But I’m not a proponent of so-called socialized medicine nor do I support mandated insurance. To be honest, I don’t have an answer as to how to reconcile my belief in universal access without the stipulations of the various healthcare reforms under consideration. I think, however, mandating coverage or penalizing individuals and/or businesses for not having such is not the answer. I’m also somewhat disturbed the by the emphasis on “get this done now.”

Advanced imaging system

Frankly, I don’t understand why we don’t look at fixing the issues with the current healthcare system. Once upon a time, every hospital wasn’t supposed to have the latest and greatest, but now they all do. And both Medicare and Medicaid are rife with waste, fraud, and abuse. There aren’t enough investigators to trim this bloodletting, but hiring more investigators has got to be cheaper than HR 3962.

The economics of the House bill are certainly questionable. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office says the unfunded mandate on the private sector exceeds the $139 million cap established by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). So, how can Congress pass a bill that violates another law? I also question the Constitutionality of mandating everyone buy insurance. Constitutional lawyers seem to think it’s ok, however. They cite Congress’ authority under the commerce, taxing, or spending powers.

But, if this is such a good thing, why is it so definitively split among party lines? The House plan still won’t insure everyone, achieving 96% at best. Support for the bill in the Senate is questionable. Independent Joe Lieberman threatens to prevent the House bill from coming to a vote as long as it includes a so-called public option insurance plan.

So, how are Democrats out of step? Well, to begin with, HR 3962 was passed, barely, along party lines. Further, the 2009 election results show Obama’s charisma has faded from the minds of voters. On top of that, jobs seem to be a low priority for Democrats. Unemployment keeps creeping up even though President Obama and Congress threw $787 billion at creating or keeping jobs.

No new jobs. No economic revival. No tangible benefit to credible infrastructure from the so-called Stimulus. Has anyone actually read the bill? Democrats are out of step with the priorities of the nation. And since current government healthcare is riddled with waste, fraud, and abuse, why would anyone propose expanding such a program?

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