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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4 Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more CS (and well described, by the way).

    Here’s the problem: “I’m going to pass something whether it’s good or not just to show you I can” and “I’m going to block it whether it’s good or not just to show you I can”. All this is supported and escalated by each political party’s public relations’ organizations masquerading as the news media. The latter has replaced all honest, truthful, factual and meaningful debate.

    The only reason something (discovered through unbiased debate) must be done is the health care industry’s complete abandonment of providing quality, affordable and meaningful health care in favor of the all mighty dollar. This is summed up in three words: greed, greed, greed (along with the absence of any morals).

    Comment by The Old Man — Thu, 12 Nov 2009 @ 7:42 am

    • Sadly, I think you hit the fundamental key problem of the day, Old Man. Greed.

      Comment by Cynical Synapse — Thu, 12 Nov 2009 @ 9:25 am

  2. I’ve got to say I strongly support the healthcare reform legislation, always have. I think you make some strong points, and well-stated, but ultimately I think the massive overhaul proposed by the stronger version of the bill is really what’s needed. And although mandating healthcare may be a burden to some companies – or they will consider it such – I think it is a burden they need to shoulder on behalf of their employees. Companies have been trying consistently to shove the responsibility of health care coverage off on the individual, but not caring whether or not there is a feasible means of obtaining decent coverage for individuals left on their own. So long as they don’t have to provide health care benefits, many businesses could care less whether employees sink or swim. We’re at a point now where small fixes and tinkering simply won’t get the job done, and an out-of-control health care system is one of the biggest current threats to the economy as well individual bank accounts. Which, as you well know, are inextricably linked.

    OK, I think I’ll stop there.

    Comment by teamowens313 — Thu, 12 Nov 2009 @ 10:54 am

    • TO313, fundamentally, I think the responsibility of healthcare belongs to the individual, not the company or the government. Still, as I said, I think healthcare is a basic human right, just like food and shelter. Thus, people need to have a means of accessing good healthcare.

      As I see it, the three big issues are insurance companies that deny coverage, skyrocketing costs, and waste and fraud. I support not excluding pre-existing conditions, mental health on par with physical conditions, paying for what is covered, and not second-guessing medical necessity. All all have been insurance company issues.

      I’ve previously addressed to idiocy of duplicative high-cost equipment in competition with other medical facilities. This happens even among non-profits. And I also touched on the phenomenal money bleeding out of medicare and medicaid.

      So, I don’t think we’re that far apart on the issue itself. We just see different solutions. Thanks for contributing.

      Comment by cynicalsynapse — Fri, 13 Nov 2009 @ 11:02 am


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