History is calling. Not since FDR’s stab at trying to get all Americans universal health care, has there been a more deliberate attempt at such a feat. Our Congress should not fall victim to fear as did FDR, when he backed away from universal health care because he thought it would threaten passage of the New Deal and other more pressing economic legislation.
In America today, the need for health care reform is crucial to our economic health. It is an imperative for moral reasons as well. No longer should four month old infants be denied health insurance because they weigh 17 pounds. No longer should a person be denied coverage because they lost their job. The partnership of jobs and health coverage was a fluke that occurred after World War II. Many companies used the draw of health coverage as a means of securing talented employees. No longer should a policyholder be denied their rightful and paid-up benefits if they get sick, have a genetic tendency towards some specific disease, or is of a particular gender. Remember: health coverage is for those of us who are SICK. How does the insurance industry get away with denying assistance to those who are ill? Isn’t that their reason for being? Without even addressing the factors of cost, these strictures of health insurance must be changed now.
Who are the people who believe that the health insurers are actually concerned with the well-being of their policyholders? Who are you that believe the insurance industry is actually concerned with more than their bottom line? Look yourself over from head to toe, and then tell me you believe these things …. especially after yesterday’s announcement by PricewaterhouseCoopers that health premiums could grow significantly in the future if the Baucus plan is approved. Tell me you were unaware that this report was paid for by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)*, which is an insurance industry trade group. In the vernacular, this is a lobby. Duh! Tell me you were not surprised by the timing of the release of this report, i.e. one day before the Senate Finance Committee’s vote on health care reform.
If you can honestly refute these facts about the insurers, I would be amazed. Even Olympia Snowe has shown some respect for her constituents (that IS her job) and the need for reform by voting for the health care proposal in the Senate Finance Committee today. Here are some of her comments after the vote:
She cautioned that her vote should be seen as a sign of her faith in the process going forward, not as support for the final package that will arrive on the Senate floor.
“Is this bill all that I would want? Far from it,” said Snowe. “Is it all that it can be? No. But when history calls, history calls, and I happen to think that the consequences of inaction dictate the urgency of Congress to take every opportunity to demonstrate its capacity to solve the monumental issues of our time.”
She sure saved her ass: she thought the better of our dire circumstances and voted for reason and need. The other Republican committee participants are waiting to be shamed into voting for a fair and viable health policy. What will it take? Will we need a major swine flu epidemic, with our emergency rooms and intensive care units overflowing, not to mention high death rates, before reality can replace greed, elitism and corporate corruption?
History is indeed calling. After the Senate Finance Committee vote today, this proposal will go through the usual chain of command: the Senate, the House, many committees, and finally, the President’s desk, after which, some kind of legislation will emerge. I hope that the resulting package will reflect a sense of fairness to all. It will not be everything for everybody. Just a program that addresses the needs of all Americans, offers some choices at reasonable costs and eliminates the factor of profit from health care. Our need for medical care has grown way too big (morally and financially) for private companies to be in charge of it. And after all, what else besides profit motivates private industry? The private insurance industry has been and continues to be NO MODEL for providing health care. Therefore, health care coverage must be taken out of the private arena. Coops will not be efficient for competition because they would lack the scope and size needed to foster competitive rates. What we really need is a single payer health care system. It might take twenty years, but we WILL wind up with a federally-run, universal system. The only entity big enough, at this point, to handle universal health care, is the United States government. Like it or not, that is our reality.
Knock knock. Who’s there? History. History who? History calls. Shall we answer by doing, or by letting the moment pass once again?
*Please refer to the following link for an extensive profile on AHIP and its betrayal of health care reform: