Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Final Word When it comes to the Upcoming Health Care Debate

I've said it before, and I'll say it again; Solving the Health care problem will save American's more money than any number of Republican tax cuts doled out sparingly to the lower and middleclass. Despite a well mapped out solution by Obama, the details seemed to get lost in the Republican mainstream mudia, I mean media. While the number of uninsured have increased and more families go bankrupt due to illness, instead of solutions, we're treated to convoluted upside down analogies and disproved cliches that play well in the press. Rep. Roy Blunt delivers the Republican response to the health care problem they never saw on their radar, and my point by point comments follow:

Blunt: Just imagine a health care system that looks like a government run operation most of us are all too familiar with -- the local DMV. Lines, paper work, taking a number. Or how about another government agency -- the IRS. I don't want our health care to resemble that system and you probably don't either.

How simple it was for the GOP to destroy the confidence people had in government by putting unqualified campaign contributors and cronies in control of major departments. I guess government is bad, if that were ever to happen, right? I challenge Blunt to name one country that provides health care and runs it like the DMV. Do we have long waiting lists to see doctors in this country? Yes. I don't know about you, but setting up an appointment usually means waiting 1 to 5 months. I guess the fact that EVERY industrialize country has single payer care doesn't mean it's good either, right?

Blunt: Republicans are committed to common-sense solutions that promote competition and innovation.

"Real competition" is the cure? As a small business owner for the last 30, I was exposed to the competitive "private" sector, the one where prices increase 10 to 20 percent a year. You know, the private sector where insurance companies tell me what doctors to see, and what treatments are covered. It's strange how different the real world clashes with someone like Blunt who really has no clue, and receives government run health care. If we had single payer coverage, I could go to any doctor in the country, because I have a federal insurance plan. How does that limit my doctor choices? And another thing, I never had an opportunity to buy into a government plan. Blunt and most conservatives act like the current system needs to be more private. NEWS FLASH: It already is.

Blunt: Not surprisingly the government never gets the price right: overpaying for some services, underpaying for others.

As far as the government never getting the price right and overpaying; Republicans backed Medicare's prescription drug plan, the one where the government CANNOT NEGOTIATE lower drug prices. Democrats didn't like that idea because in a free market, a major purchaser of drugs, like the government, should be able to compete for the best price. What a novel concept. COMPETITION. So it would appear to be just "big talk" coming from Blunt, who seems to be against competition in this case. Sure the government plan might be dramatically cheaper, but providers will have a CHOICE of contracting with the more expensive insurance companies that build in their own profit margins, or deal directly with a not for profit government carrier.

I guess competition has a certain set of rules that bar the really big players, like the U.S. government and Wal Mart, from participating in....oops, did I say Wal Mart? They're okay, according to the Republican rules of competition, but government is excluded. I forgot. Sorry.

Blunt: It's also a system that leads to unfair rationing of care.

"Unfair rationing" is cute, because I'm sure Blunt wasn't referring to the insurance companies who turn down care, refuse to pay health care bills and keep people out with pre-existing conditions. It's called corporate rationing. This would never happen in the private sector.

One final note: Blunt's promise to fight against any proposal that undermines your ability to get the treatment the doctor you choose recommends, is the ultimate BS. As I mentioned above, families have been bankrupt and left to pay the cost of treatments because our current private insurance system allows companies the ability to deny coverage and/or refuse to pay for treatment. I'll bet Blunt hasn't lifted a finger against the insurance industry. But please, correct me if I'm wrong.

The AP take:

The flashpoint is a proposal that would give Americans the option of buying medical coverage through a government plan. Republicans laid down a challenge. "I'm concerned that if the government steps in, it will eventually push out the private health care plans millions of Americans enjoy today," Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said in the Republican weekly radio address. Blunt warned: "This could cause your employer to simply stop offering coverage, hoping the government will pick up the slack."

Never mind that their plan removes the business deduction for health care costs, a strategy I would consider as an even speedier way to encourage employers to drop coverage. The more American’s that switch to a less expensive government plan that controls the rising cost of care, the better everyone will be.

The proposal would, for the first time, offer government-sponsored coverage to middle-class families, as an alternative to private health plans. By some estimates, it could reduce premiums by 20 percent or more — making it much more affordable to cover the estimated 48 million people who don't have health coverage. It could also be a deal breaker for broad, bipartisan agreement on health care.

A recent analysis by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit group that sponsors health care research, is giving supporters of a public plan some ammunition.

The study estimated costs and coverage under a hypothetical health reform plan similar to what Obama proposed in the campaign. It found that a public plan like Medicare could reduce projected health care costs by about $2 trillion over an 11-year period. Premiums in the public plan would be at least 20 percent lower, partly because of reduced administrative costs. Within a decade or so, some 105 million people would be in the public plan, compared with about 107 million with private insurance.

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