Let the filibuster begin! Make the Republicans stall the business of the people by sonorously intoning the “evil” idea of health care reform. Proponents can then get to work doing what they should have been doing all along – educating Americans about the necessity of addressing the drain health care has become on our economy. Besides the moral issue of leaving so many Americans untreated or bankrupt, there is the simple fact of the public cost of our crazy system.
For too long, Democrats have let Republicans steer the public debate with misrepresentation (lies) and define the argument (with total disregard for the truth). It is time to clearly state the reasons for reform and the consequences if we don’t act. Cost on the eternal upswing wrecks the
federal budget as well as the family budget. Most Americans are a job loss or cut back
away from possible financial disaster due to an accident or serious illness. As health care costs continue to rise unchecked, we all face higher premiums and co-pays which may seriously affect family budgets, and will put off early treatment that would save lives and money.
This bill is being rushed? Hardly. Reform has been discussed vigorously for over a year – with floor debate being one of the longest. And, yes, most of the debate was on C-Span. The bills were posted on line for anyone’s perusal. The Democrats’ mistake was to assume Americans would use those resources to understand the various components of reform. Instead, many Americans believed Rush when he said it was written in “secret,” and avidly read and believed the out of context and misleading “facts” they saw on the internet. Polling seems to show that when the practicalities of health care reform are discussed, people support reform. When it is defined as “socialized medicine” or “Obamacare,” they don’t.
It’s clear that the bills under consideration are not socializing medicine or calling for a government takeover of our healthcare system (and I do use that term lightly). This is basically an insurance reform bill – necessary, because states have abdicated their regulatory responsibilities. Missouri is a good example of minimal regulation allowing insurance companies to internalize profits while externalizing costs to the state. Health insurance companies have worked very hard to get out of the risk business, and they spend a lot of money finding ways to deny care. Taking regulatory steps now provides a building block for improving access and delivery, leading to cost containment and long term improvement of our health care system.
Supporters of reform need to make their case. Tell us why we need it, what the consequences are if we don’t do it, address the misrepresentations head on with the truth, put it into the perspective of our values, and kick start America into the real world.