Cynical Synapse

Tue, 22 Dec 2009

Healthcare Reform: Just Business as Usual

Filed under: Behavior, Budget, Citizen rights, Congress, Economy, Government, Medicine, Politics, President, Rants, Take action — cynicalsynapse @ 9:56 pm

Health care lobbying

Some see the likely passage of healthcare reform as a victory for everyone except the people. Why? There are two big issues from my perspective. First, the orignal bill is about 2,000 pages long and there have been 478 Senate ammendments offered against this bill. Who has a clue what it actually says now? And have our Senators actually read the damn thing, cover to cover? I think not; certainly, neither of my Senators have confirmed to me they have. Second, what Article of the US Constitution grants the Congress authority to mandate citizens buy private health insurance? I don’t think any of them do.

On several occassions, I’ve asked my Senators, Carl Levin (D) and Debbie Stabenow (D) these same questions. So far all I’ve received is boilerplate responses about why they support healthcare reform in general. Neither has responded about the Constitutionality of the bill nor whether they’ve read the entire bill—in its current incarnation, mind you—not to mention if it will actually cut costs and save money.

Inaugural hope and change

The Senate voted for cloture on the healthcare reform bill strictly along party lines: 58 Democrats and 2 Independents for, 40 Republicans opposed. In his remarks on the early Monday vote, Pres. Obama said:

By standing up to the special interests—who’ve prevented reform for decades, and who are furiously lobbying against it now—the Senate has moved us closer to reform that makes a tremendous difference.

Frankly, I’m confused. It seems to me Congressmen being in bed with the American Medical Association and other bribes, such as Sen. Levin’s donations from non-profit insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield, played a large role. In fact, those 478 Senate ammendments are nothing more than maneuverings to buy votes, just like when Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) bought out Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) for that 60th vote. The American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association both support the bill, even if they have issues with parts of it. Interestingly, both point to insuring an additional 30 million citizens as their reason for supporting the bill. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t these two of the largest special interest groups regarding healthcare?

leadership change

So, it seems, it’s just business as usual and the taxpayer be damned. Michigan’s two Democrat Senators voted in favor of cloture. See how your Senator voted on Roll Call 385. But, the, you already know: Democrats, for; Republicans, opposed. So much for a bipartisan healthcare bill.

Here’s what I told my Senators yesterday:

You must vote no on all future votes on the current health care reform bill in the US Senate.

I am disappointed in your failure to answer whether or not you have read the entire HR 3780 and each of the 478 Senate ammendments to the bill for which you have voted in favor of cloture. I am also disillusioned by your apparent complicity in the corruption and bribing of your fellow Senators to reach the necessary 60 votes.

You have also failed to inform me as the the specific Article(s) of the US Constitution from which the Congress derives the authority to require citizens to purchase private health insurance. I find it inexcusable that my elected representatives can vote yea on legislation for which they have not established clear Constitutional authority to do so.

According to recent public opinion polls, somewhere between 53% and 85% expect higher costs, either in premiums or taxes or both, from this fiasco. The bill does not enjoy public support and you need to vote in accordance with your constituents. Failure to do so is a violation of their sacred trust. Vote against SA 2786 at the next vote.

A Quinnipiac University poll found most voters oppose the healthcare reform bill, according to results released today. The poll found 53% “mostly disapprove” of the plan and 56% disapprove of Obama’s handling of the matter. Overwhelmingly—72-23 percent—they disapproved of using public money to pay for abortions.

Today, the Senate held its 60-39 majority to shut off debate on Majority Leader Harry Reid’s version of healthcare reform. The next hurdle is tomorrow’s vote to limit debate on the bill to no more than 30 hours. This would put the final vote on the bill at around 7 PM Christmas Eve.

While using maximum times to delay votes on the bill, Senate Republicans caved in to a final vote 11 hours earlier, assuming the Democratic caucus maintains it’s 60-40 lead for Wednesday’s vote. With this expected result, the Senate will pass its ammended HR 3780 on healthcare reform before most of us are done with coffee on Thursday.

Even if it might not matter, have you told your Senators how you feel on this issue? You better, right now; we’re just two votes away.


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