Friday, July 17, 2009
The Time For Health Care Reform is NOW!
One of the most important issues being debated in congress is Health Care Reform. Nearly 47 million Americans uninsured and that number is increasing everyday. Nearly six-in-ten Americans, 59.3 percent receive health care through their employer, and with the unemployment rate is at it highest since the Reagan Administration (9.7 % Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) millions more Americans are at risk of losing their health care due to being laid off from their job.
The President said that “Health care reform is no longer just a moral imperative, it is a fiscal imperative. If we want to create jobs and rebuild our economy, then we must address the crushing cost of healthcare this year, in this administration.” I couldn’t agree with him more. The time for action is now. There is no excuse as to why we can’t get this done. There are many obstacles in they way. The GOP who claim that a Government option will hurt competition (which is crazy because there is no competition in the Health Care industry), The Big Insurance companies that don’t want to compete with the government because they know that it will mean they will have to reduce their price, and Last but not least Centrist/Moderate Democrats some from Conservative States that are afraid of losing in their seats in 2010 or they are they are afraid of losing campaign contributions from Big Insurance companies.
The amazing thing that gives me hope that we can get this done is that we have the votes necessary. As it stands right now there are 58 Democratic Senators in the Senate and 2 Independents that caucus with the Democratic Party, thus giving the Democratic Party 60 votes. 60 votes are necessary to break a filibuster and allow a bill to come to a vote. All the 60 Democrats have to do is vote to end the debate. If they are against the bill they don’t have to vote for it. Technically we only need 50 votes (With the Vice President breaking the tie) it would be very unfortunate if the Centrist/Moderate Democrats worked with the Republicans to Filibuster a Healthcare Reform Bill. So, if the Centrist/Moderate Democrats vote to end the Debate and bring the bill up for a vote basically would that takes the Republican Party out of the conversation and out of the way. They can talk big on T.V. all they want to. They don’t really have a say in the matter.
So, that leaves the Centrist/Moderate Democrats. Sen. Ben Nelson, from Nebraska, Sen. Joe Lieberman, from Connecticut, Sen. Mary Landrieu, from Louisiana, Sen. Evan Bayh, from Indiana, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, from Arkansas and Sen. Mark Pryor from Arkansas. I’m sure I left a few out but these are the ones that were reported to be against a Public Health Care Option. The problem with the Senate Democrats is there seems to be no unity. If they could come together and stand for something instead of fighting each other passing legislation wouldn’t be so hard. I have called each of the Senators offices and the answers I have received have all been the same with the exception of Sen. Nelson office who said that the Senator hasn’t released a statement yet on the issue. They don’t want a Public Option. When, I ask them why almost all of their offices said that it would hurt competition. That argument is absurd. As it stands right now there is NO COMPETIION IN THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY. And of course that is exactly what I said to them, but they stuck to the script.
With all of these Senators offices responding the same way it makes me wonder if they have been told to respond that way. The Healthcare Industry is spending 1.4 million dollars a day lobbying against a Public Healthcare option. They know what really is at risk, Their HUGE PROFITS. They know that if a Public Healthcare Option is passed that they would have to lower their cost to compete with the Public Option. Yes that means even if you keep your Healthcare that you already have it will cost you less because they will have to reduce their premiums to keep your business. That is the beautiful thing about True Competition, it drives down cost.
For too long Big Insurance companies have had what amounts to a Monopoly on the Healthcare Industry. That needs to come to and end. They are in the business to make money, I understand that. That doesn’t mean that they care about providing affordable Healthcare. I submit to you that providing affordable Healthcare is the least of their concerns.
According to the Center for American Progress, Health care costs are escalating four times faster than wages and the cumulative cost of premiums increased 91 percent from 2000 to 2007. These are staggering statistics. I am very passionate about this issue, and that is what I ask from the readers of this column. Get out there, Get Active, Get Informed, and Get Involved. I know that many of you may think that what you have to say doesn’t matter and that you can’t make a difference. Well, I disagree. I say that if every single one us fight for Healthcare reform it will happen. The members of Congress work for us. We are their constituents not BIG INSURANCE COMPANIES. Tell your congressman and Senators to support The Public Healthcare Option. Call Congressman Walter Jones, Call Sen. Richard Burr, Call Sen. Kay Hagan. We must let them know just how important this is to us. The First step in rebuilding the Middle Class is passing Real Healthcare Reform with a Public Healthcare Option.
Anthony D. Hall
Lenoir County Board of Health
Posted by Anthony D. Hall at 4:51 AM