Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Comprehensive Health Care

Well, the boys in the backroom have come up with a plan that certainly rewards the insurance industry for their millions in campaign money. It mandates that everyone MUST buy health insurance, but offers no real solutions for getting it. There is a provision for health care co-ops, like credit unions for health insurance, but those will apparently only be open to people who have been completely without insurance for 6 months or more. The provision for making it illegal for insurance companies to use preexisting conditions as a pretext for refusing service is a masterpiece of ambiguous loopholes -- for instance the rules can be overridden based on smoking, age and "family composition," whatever that may mean.

The health care co-ops are like buying clubs for insurance. They will operate like HMOs and only MDs who subscribe to those services will be available -- meaning your own MD is probably not going to be one of them. Oh, but a "government option" will make you lose your physician of choice, says a commercial that just ran on CNN. Did I mention this plan has no government option? This bill also cuts Medicare, another thing the Republicans were swearing the "government option" would do, and the Democrats have sworn won't be touched.

My government-run heath care plan saved me financially and physically. I had gone horribly into debt trying to pay for the survivor's insurance I inherited from my late husband. It was costing me more per month than the amount of the pension I got. I had to rely on credit cards and a home equity loan to pay bills and eat. Finally I turned 65, and my health care coverage worries were over. Medicare made all the difference. The expensive company insurance fees dropped to a much lower amount as Medicare became my primary coverage. I kept my wonderful MD and none of the horrors that ad on CNN predicted materialized. I'm not sure that will be the case if this "no-public-option" version passes.

As much as I desperately want to see health care reform, I hope the bill they are proposing fails. It is a total sham. They gutted the best of Obama's original proposal and still have no bipartisan support. It is anything but reform. Max Baucus, the man who proposed it, is on CNN now, stuttering and red-faced, and you can see he knows it's a sham. His facial expression says it all. He's no doubt eager to be off counting his health industry pay-offs. After all, he has already received $3.9 million from them -- even more than most Republicans.

Should a man who has collected $3.9 million from the industry write the legislation to reform it? Should a fox be put in charge of redesigning the hen house?

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