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The Politics and the Morality of the Health Care Reform Debate

The Politics and the Morality of the Health Care Reform Debate

Health care reform is not about President Obama and whether you like him or loathe him. It’s not about Democrats or Republicans, right wing or left, your team or mine. Health care reform is — or should be — about you and me, about human beings and one of our most basic needs.

It should be about providing adequate health care for all in America, one of the richest nations on earth, one which offers the finest health care to those fortunate enough to fall into the proper categories.

It should be about the unfair practice of rescinding insurance policies from people who are sick, about denying coverage to those who have had health problems in the past, or pricing those folks out of the market altogether.

It should be about the inability to qualify for a group policy because you don’t work for the right company, or the federal government, and losing coverage when you lose your job. 

It should be about states that offer no protections for such people, or that have no high risk pools. 

It should be about the lack of choice that is already a fact of life for many of us, and the insurance companies that routinely deny claims, ultimately resulting in denial of care.

It should be about the people who are satisfied with the system just the way it is because they benefit from quality employer-provided or government-provided medical coverage… and what they plan to do should they lose that benefit.

And it certainly should be about our esteemed members of Congress, who are able to choose from a variety of fine policies on taxpayer dollars, and why they feel so entitled to those benefits while saying “no” to the general public.

But instead of focusing on the very real problems of Americans, we’ve politicized it to such an extent that it is barely recognizable as a debate about health care. It’s about Obama haters, Nazis, and imaginary death camps, instead of about the needs of doctors and patients. It’s an argument against government as a whole, even from those who happily benefit from government entitlement programs, in an “I’ve got mine, you get yours” mentality.

It’s a war that will be won to one degree or another by the Democrats or by the Republicans, and the victory will be sweet. Either way, it most assuredly will leave extensive collateral damage. We the people are that collateral damage. 

On a recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, Bill Moyers said of health care reform:

“I find it hard to understand why this country hasn’t embraced the notion of health care as a common human need to which everyone should have access regardless of their economic resources. I just don’t understand that.”

Neither do I.

Action Items in Support of Health Care Reform:

Support Historic Health Bill 

We Demand a Public Option

Healthcare Reform, not Insurance Care!

If you are truly opposed to any form of government-run health care, you’ll want to sign this petition: I Pledge to Deny Myself Medicare for Life!

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28 comments

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4:43AM PDT on Oct 4, 2009

We can all debate health care reform vs insurance, yet many overlook the systems in place that are supposed to provide adequate health care. Worker's Compensation is one of those, which was long ago abandoned by the federal government and turned over to the individual states.

There is no uniform policy, actual care provided is dependent upon approvals, disability payments are delayed, and employers and employees pay into this. Yet, when needed, because someone is seriously injured on the job, the injured worker is confronted with an advesarial system that is overwhelming with procedure and forms. So, the injured worker tunrs to the legal system for assistance.

In Ohio attorneys get one third for a fee, plus any other riders, clauses and/or expenses added in. Do you know what lawyers get in your state? If not, check it out because you never know when you could be hurt at work.

Health care . . . I guess seeing a pulmonary specialist and an orthopedic specialist qualifies as care, but I cannot see that those specialist have anything to do with the pancreas or a removed spleen. Yet those are the doctors that BWC sends you to to declare you MMI (Maxximum Medical Improvement) so they can release you to work and not pay benefits.

When you talk of reform, how about overhauling the systems in place . . . the ones that are not working as designed. Reform means : To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition.

4:57PM PDT on Sep 6, 2009

We really don't have the worlds best health care when so many cannot access it. And Yes, insurance is not health care.

9:19PM PDT on Sep 4, 2009

No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day. Sign the petition to President Obama today: http://bit.ly/QaT56

6:58PM PDT on Sep 4, 2009

We need a public option, not mere insurance reform. The California Nurse's Association conducted a study on insurance company claim denials. PacifaCare (subsidary of United Health Group), has denied 39.6% of health care claims filed with them. The state of California has a health care claim denial rate of 22%! That's nearly 1 out of every 4 claims filed! And those are the stats for just one company, and one state's overall.

It's also been rpt'd that Pres. Obama is going to ask progressives to be 'good soldiers', during his congressional address. He wants us to be willing to settle for the "trigger" provision that's been introduced by republicans. Sen. Sherrod Brown, (D)Ohio, stated that the President doesn't write the bills, congress does. So I urge all to e-mail your Senators & Representatives. Let's flood them with our individual e-mails of support for the public option, and NO MORE republican concessions...82 so far, and still NOT ONE republican vote of support!

11:07AM PDT on Sep 4, 2009

Insurance is not health care!!! A public insurance option will not reform the system. We need a new system, a public plan that is not based on the insurance model. The model is the problem.

When does insurance ever improve anything? Having a public insurance option will only force everyone to buy insurance, it is a win win for the insurance companies. No politician from either party wants to support anything that is not based on the insurance model.

Think about it we need public health care not health insurance. It will be business as usual with some window dressing to look like reforms. Until we have a new model there is very little chance of reforming the system.

5:22AM PDT on Sep 4, 2009

How about this.....the money we already put into the government through taxes is re-routed from all the "give-away" money and exhorbitant salaries for congress and the Pres and that money is instead put into health care. No more sending billions to other countries, no more $1000/plate dinners for fundraisers, no more $200,000-$400,000/year salaries for 635 congress members.....That money goes directly to health care and our taxes don't increase. We already pay a large percent to health care/medicare and social security. Just shift the budget around and you would have the money. Just try and tell congress that they are paid more than they are worth and that they need to only receive what the average American makes and see if they are willing to give up what they are skimming off of our backs and put it into health care. I doubt very much the democrats would be willing to put their money where there mouths are. Why can't the Pres only get $1/year for his first couple of years, like what Steve Jobs did when he came back to apple, and the remaining money get put into something truly needed? His wife makes enough for both of them. The pres will make a mint off his books and other things, so why does he need our tax dollars? If we want something better we need to stop the gigantic hole in the budget and learn to live within our means instead of forcing fewer worker bees to work harder and earn less.

10:51PM PDT on Sep 3, 2009

I'm so tired of hearing the apologists for the insurance industry say "We in the USA have the best health care system in the world." That's only true if you can afford the best insurance -- and if you are lucky enough not to be dropped by your insurance carrier when you get sick. For most of us, it's a cruel hoax. The truth is, the U.S. is way down the list, far below the countries that the healthcare reform opponents seem to enjoy bashing. Harry Truman knew the truth more than 60 years ago, and we're still trying to get healthcare reform. How can our legislators allow the insurance companies to keep a stranglehold on our health (and our wallets) while legislators themselves get the very best coverage, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer! It's an outrage and yes, it is a moral issue.

7:46PM PDT on Sep 2, 2009

I believe health care should be available for all citizens and, in an emergency, for non citizens. We need health care reform but not change the whole system AND not have the government in charge of running it. They just keep messing stuff up. Give rules for the insurance companies to go by; don't allow the hospitals to charge fifty cents for a cotton ball and stuff like that. That's as bad as the government paying $10,000 for a toilet seat; know what I mean. There is just too much waste and greed and it needs to stop. A wild guess on the toilet seat but I'm sure, it's not too far from the truth.

Bill F., It is about FREEDOM of CHOICE; it's America, not Canada, Cuba, Britain or any of the other countries you are talking about.

PS. Plant a tree for life, but by all means, use them too. It's our way of lively hood. The timber industry; it's been good to us and could be for everyone if everyone didn't have to get their panties in a bunch.

7:32PM PDT on Sep 2, 2009

The health insurance industry and big pharma have gotten so much in the healthcare bill that they are now supporting it! Here is their plan if their plan for a public option - Shift all the sickest people to the public option. Mandate healthcare so everyone is forced to buy a policy. The cheaper the policy the higher the deductible. No caps on premiums and no bargining on drug prices. The drug companies will help pay for the drugs for those who can afford them but only for their high price drugs not generics. What the Dems and Obama are doing is a sellout. Basically, the corporations. will allow the public option through but do everything to undermine it kind of like the way the government treats Amtract. As for the Republicans, they want to defeat the bill to make Obama look bad. They do not give a dam about the American people. In short, Republicans -shameless, Democrats spineless.

We need a single payer system which pays doctors by salary not procedures, We need an emphasis on real preventive health, that teaches people about the importance of eating right, exercise and good hygiene. We need to encourage rather than restict holistic healthcare like midwifery, nutritional counselling, herbs, etc. We need an immediate cap on insurance premiums and ability to negotiate prices on drugs. We need more non- profit clinics and hospitals. That would be real health reform. This just another handout to the corporations like the bailout and the Global warming bill.

5:43PM PDT on Sep 2, 2009

I spoke at one of the infamous town halls last night, and was disgusted to tears by the hatred and selfishness from a nasty mob of rich white folks. Bullies. Posting here does little good - you MUST contact your representatives and say the mobs do not represent you. Don't let the bullies own the debate anymore. Stand up!

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