I spent the last few days glued to CSPAN listening to both the Republican and the Democratic view points on health care reform. The Republicans did a lot of fear mongering but offered no solutions at all.
They came off a little bit heartless. Making it seem that if you are too young for Medicare you just have to stay well enough to not need health care and if you get sick it is your own fault.
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R), who did not vote to debate the bill, confused me. She said where you live in the country should not affect your health care costs. She talked about her constituents having $30,000 deductibles for a family and how that was not acceptable. She said if you have a good idea it should not matter what party you belong to. Then why did not one Republican want to even debate or amend the current bill?
Somebody in the Republican party has to have an idea besides partisan obstructionism.
Sen.Tom Harkin (D) said the bill will stop lifetime and yearly caps by the insurance companies. It will also stop rescission, the practice of dropping a policy holder when he gets sick. You will be able to keep your children on your policy until they are twenty-six. Small businesses will get a 35% tax credit for their health insurance. There will be a high risk pool for those with preexisting conditions to buy insurance. All of these things will be implemented as soon as the bill becomes law. Wellness and prevention will be foremost. No deductibles or copays cancer screenings for those on Medicare.
Sen. Kent Conrad (D) said our health care system is unsustainable. He said we spend twice as much as any country in the developing world and have a worse outcome. He said the family budget is threatened, American business is threatened, and the Government can not withstand the rising cost of health care. He said it is not perfect but it is a good beginning. He said the vote for cloture is the beginning not the end. He said the bill is fully paid for, reduces long and short term deficits, expands coverage to 94% of mericans, contains insurance market reforms, and it contains delivery system reforms. The plan will extend Medicare solvency by four or five years , it will curb over payments, and creates the Independent Medicare Advisory Board.
Sen. Paul Kirk (D) said it best when he said it is not a matter of this bill or the status quo. Status quo means something stays the same. If nothing is done health insurance premiums, co pays, deductibles, prescription costs, and medical costs will soar. The average middle class family bears the brunt of the problem.
Sen. Kay Hagan (D) said the working middle class are stuck. If you or your spouse gets sick you can not even change jobs.
I held my breath during the vote for cloture. I did not think any Democratic Senator or Sen. Joe Lieberman would want to go down in history as the one who stopped such a historic vote from being discussed. Now if only the Republicans would think about the fate of the working class in this country as they go on to debate this bill. As my father used to say be a part of the solution and not the problem.