The last time I did a rant of some kind, I touched upon a lot of issues that really weren’t related to each other. This time, though it might not seem like it, it’s all mainly about one thing, health care, though I might go off the range a couple of times. It’s time for this, though; I’ve written about it often enough in posts on my other two blogs, but not this one. I just need to clear the air, so here goes; and no, the image has nothing to do with this post, as we all know by now.
On Saturday night, the House Democrats finally pushed through the first stage of what will be a very massive and comprehensive health care bill. Well, at least they pushed through a bill, on a vote of 220 – 215. How comprehensive it will be is still in dispute by everyone outside of the House of Representatives.
Why? Because we have no idea what’s really in the bill. What is it going to cover? We already know it’s not covering abortions, but we have no idea what it’s going to cover. We’ve heard that it’s going to be funded by fees and cuts to Medicare. What kind of cuts to Medicare, and why? What kind of fees? I know that if it still has that stupid provision I heard about back in late September about charging individuals $900 and families $3,800 if they decide not to get onto a health care plan, I don’t support that at all. After all, the President said that any health care bill he signed wouldn’t hurt the middle class; just who do we all think those fines, or fees, will be laid upon? The rich have enough money to not have to worry about it, and the poor have Medicaid.
What I have heard is that they won’t allow insurance companies to not cover someone for preexisting conditions, which is a biggie because I got caught under something like that back in 1984 (and still have my tonsils because of it). They also won’t allow insurance companies to drop you if you’re already sick under the plan, unless insurance premiums stop being paid. That’s actually another good thing. I tell you, in general I don’t trust insurance companies and it’s because of stuff like this. However, in my mind, they should have passed these laws years ago, instead of tying it to a health care plan.
Okay, let me go on the record by saying this; I do believe this country needs to have a health care plan to protect everyone who doesn’t have insurance. Having said that, without knowing what this plan is, I don’t know if this is the plan we signed on for. The President said in his 8 principles that any plan Congress came up with has to NOT increase the deficit. Suddenly, this plan is coming with a $1.2 trillion price tag over 10 years; how the heck is that not going to raise the deficit?
Now, raising the deficit is something the Republicans seem to be hanging their hat on, but those phonies and hypocrites were responsible for getting this country into the mess it’s in now, with unemployment finally reaching 10.2% and more than 15 million Americans out of work. They say that they’re worried about the financial burden on our kids; yeah, they’re worried about the money but they could care less about the environment, which they say doesn’t matter to them and that they don’t believe there’s anything wrong with, as Greenland is about to lose its ice mass and glaciers, Alaska has already lost much of its glaciers, ice is melting at both the North Pole and Antarctica at alarming rates, and the snows of Kilamanjaro are disappearing rapidly. Sure, there’s no threat of global warming; please!
And, why is it that these same Republicans, the party of NO, the party that just today supposedly came up with its own version of a health care plan that not only isn’t a health care plan, but is something that half the states in the union have already had in place for nearly 30 years, couldn’t decide to work with the Democrats and actually voice their concerns about portions of the bill while the debate was going on? Why didn’t they offer anything? Oh yeah, because their lobbyists would have had a field day and their political funds would have dried up (I just dropped receiving email from the lobbying from my local Chamber of Commerce because these people obviously have no compassion for anyone except businesses). Someone tell me how rich people are supposed to care about anyone else being able to have health care? Heck, months ago a Republican representative said health care was a privilege, not a right; who elected this moron?
Also, just who were these idiots (yes, I’m name calling) who were showing up at these town meetings over the summer and screaming about the potential for a health care plan instead of engaging in some kind of civil discussion. Here’s the thing; no one took you seriously except for the Republican politicians who were hoping that some kind of public outcry would scare people off this plan. Most of you who were being convinced that a health care option would be a bad thing are the very people who probably need this health care. Rich people don’t march, so they didn’t care. You made jerks out of yourselves and no one heard a single thing you said. I tell you this, it’s certainly a good thing I’m not a politician because I’d have walked right up to you, got in your face, and dared you to keep screaming at me. Threatening? You bet! People tend not to act stupidly when they’re called on it.
One final point; this idea of a public option. Folks, let’s just call it what it is; a government sponsored health care plan to compete against other insurance companies. I’m not sure whether I’m for it or against it, but I don’t think it’s needed. Instead. what would spur competition of prices would be to lift the lid on insurance companies across the country to be able to market their insurance in any market they saw fit. Too many communities have only 2 or 3 insurance company options at the most from which to choose from, and all of them have somewhat inflated rates. For all these people griping about how much the government health care plan is going to cost, who hasn’t at least a couple of times this decade had double digit insurance premium increases at work, where the average seems to be at least 8% every year, and the cost of pharmaceuticals going even higher? With more competition, prices would naturally have to come down, and that might solve some of the problems instead of the government funding their own insurance plan, which they already do through Medicare and Medicaid.
Now, if people were complaining that, instead of a health care plan, we should have been concentrating on improving the economy, I’d have gotten behind that. Sure, we had this stimulus package, but most of that was undercover, to the point that some people are just getting their stimulus money, and others have used it in ways that weren’t its purpose. This wasn’t supposed to save jobs; it was supposed to help create new jobs. But, in my opinion, most of these politicians had no idea how to create jobs. I had my ideas on how to create jobs, but no one ever asked me. What happened to our money czar? Oh yeah, she couldn’t take the job because she had illegal help that she didn’t pay any taxes on; sheesh (okay, we actually do have a new money czar, but I was on a roll here)!
By the way, I had my own version of a health care plan that a colleague consultant didn’t like, saying it wouldn’t be effective, and he came up with his own health care plan, which would have been effective. However, in retrospect, my plan over 10 years would have come to $500 billion at the most, while his would have come to $2 trillion; I still win fiscally.
Morally, this country needs a health care plan. Only the United States and Italy don’t have one for its citizens. Financially, I’m not sure we can afford this one, especially if the figures I mentioned earlier are still a part of the plan. And also, if it’s taking money away from Medicare, which is going to end up closing hospitals at the same rate, eventually, that banks are closing now, a health care plan won’t matter because we won’t have anywhere to go. That plus there’s already a shortage of doctors and nurses in this country because reimbursement is too low and malpractice insurance is too high.
I keep wondering if I were in Congress how I would have voted on this bill. This is something that most people don’t think about; these bills that get put before our elected officials almost never have everything we want in them, and sometimes have stuff sneaked in that has nothing to do with the bill. That’s how the anti-gambling statute got pushed in, through another bill that protects our borders, and why every American who’s paying to play poker online is actually breaking the law. With the little bit I know, this bill wouldn’t be close to my first choice. I might have had to hold my nose, but I think I’d have probably voted for it in the end.
Nope, glad I’m not a politician. Certainly glad I’m not a Republican (I’m not a Democrat either, by the way), since it seems that, so far, in this year they haven’t come up with a single proposal to try to advance something. Think that’s the wrong way to look at it? Prove me wrong. At least they did come together last week with the Democrats to vote for an extension of unemployment; can you imagine how bad that would have looked?
Okay, off the soapbox now. I’m not expecting this one to be read that much, so back to the lighthearted fare most of us are used to tomorrow; whew!