Thursday, March 25, 2010

Health Care Reform: The Final Post

The healthcare bill passed both the house and the senate and the president signed it into law this week.  In it, insurance companies can no longer discriminate nor charge more for people with pre-existing conditions.  You cannot be dropped if you get sick.  You can stay on your parents' insurance until you're 26.  In 2014, you'll have to buy insurance, but if the you cannot afford it, the government will help you subsidize it.  At that time, there will also be exchanges where small businesses can pool together and purchase later group plans for their employees, thereby getting better rates and better coverage.

These are a few of the positives in this bill.  I really wanted to see a public option (no surprise), so that the insurance companies would have some real competition and be forced to keep their rates reasonable. 

The backlash against this bill has been overwhelming.  Do you know that if you write in all caps it's the virtual equivalent of yelling?  Perhaps you meant to, but man, my ears hurt.

Here are the things I've really been wanting to say.  (Disclaimer: When I use "you," it's not directed at anyone in particular.  And it's not directed at all the opposers of the bill.  I have many intelligent, informed friends with legitimate arguments against health care reform.  I have had a few very civil conversations with those friends this week that helped me understand parts of the other side of the argument.  This is directed at those who are angry, but haven't read the bill.  Who are angry, but are misinformed.  I am sorry if I offend anyone.  My intention is to get it out of my head.  And to finalize the many posts I've had this year about this subject.)

1.  I get it, you're upset.  You don't agree philosophically with this bill, and you're angry about it passing.  I even know all of your arguments (too much government, how will our health care system support all these new patients, costs too much money, health care insurance isn't a right, it's a privilege, etc.).  Then get involved.  I spent a lot of time this past year learning, and listening, and acting.  I am a little bit in love with democracy, because we really do get to make our voice heard.  Don't just complain; DO something. 

2.  It passed.  Do not say, "Shame on you, government, for not listening to the people."  My government listened to me.  And to millions of other Americans who were ready for health care reform.  Millions of Americans voted for Obama, and he campaigned largely on this platform.  We knew when we voted that he was going to work for this change.  I think it's unfair to say that the government didn't work for the people. There are millions of Americans who are going to be healthier because of this bill.  Many Americans will now be able to avoid financial ruin because of this bill.  Their government listened to them.

3.  I do not understand the "government takeover" argument.  I don't.  We don't have a single-payer system.  There isn't even a public option.  There is some regulation of the government over an industry that could care less about the welfare of human beings.  In my humble opinion, it's the government's job to protect us from sharks, and for this regulation I am thankful.

4.  I do NOT understand the violence.  I read this op-ed earlier this week and I wanted to throw up.  The amount of fear and anger I've been surrounded by this week is overwhelming.  For people to scream at a man with Parkinson's disease at a Tea Party rally last weekend, and protestors screaming slurs at US Congresspeople as they went to vote.  As of today, ten Democrats have reported threats and violence at their offices.  Broken windows, threatening messages.  Out. of. control. 

You don't need me to reiterate how I feel about violence of this sort.  I've done enough posts on fear and how it affects us (and I've now labeled all my posts, so if you want to know how I feel about it, it's easy to find).

I'm going to be done talking about it now.  It started as a hypothetical and went through the process.  It was a serious debate, and there was a vote.  It's the law now.  I am hoping that as things settle down and all of the details become available, people will be more comfortable.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison, and you came to visit me.

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirst and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Matthew 25:35-40

Peace and love.


ethiopifinn said...

Let it be known, Ethiopifinn LOVES Bits and Pieces.

Julie said...

I'm glad you got a chance to address the things on your mind. :)

"Whatever you did for one of the least of our brothers.." Powerful, powerful words.

Amy I. said...

There are so many things about this whole debate that are mind-boggling to me. I think this bill is a much-needed step in the right direction. The status quo is simply unacceptable. I was shocked at the response by conservatives on facebook. One of them expressed their concern that this bill will eliminate private insurance companies.

I agree that the insurance companies need some incentive to lower rates, and increased regulation is a step in the right direction. Special interests have spent millions of dollars in Washington fighting reform. Last year, the five largest health insurance companies increased profits by 56 percent, or 12 billion dollars. One company in California just increased premiums by 39 percent. Meanwhile, the actual cost of the care is being paid for by your average American in the form of bigger deductibles and out of pocket expenses. And right now 45,000 people die each year because they have no insurance, which is just plain criminal. All I can say is thanks to the lawmakers who passed this much needed reform.

elizabeth said...

A thoughtful summary.

I'd say more, but the last misinformed/inaccurate comment I read was the straw that broke the non-snarky me's back. Hence I am avoiding the topic for now.

MindiJo said...

Oh, shoot. I had a whole thing typed up and deleted it. Whoops.

I just have to say this: (And it isn't directed at you.) Whether you are left or right, Democrat or Republican or Independent, Red or Blue. Whatever you are, doesn't matter. Everybody can feel lashed out at over politics. Both sides feel it. It isn't something that only one side feels. To have it explained away as "fear" or "misinformation" is insulting. True, there are people on both sides who don't really know what they are fighting for or talking about. However. We all have the right to our own opinion. That is the beauty of this country. I am just really tired of people calling someone of opposing views hurtful things. And it happens all the time. On BOTH sides.

That's all I have to say about that. I am happy for you that it passed, as I know you are a huge advocate of health care reform. I agree that health insurance needs some changes. I hope it all works out well. Sincerely I do.