Jul 09

Back to work on Healthcare

Congress returns to Washington, DC on Monday with the Senate scheduled to resume debate on a health care program that will repeal and replace The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare.)

While The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect, it has provided or improved insurance coverage for millions of Americans, especially those who could not previously afford it. Under this program, people with pre-existing conditions cannot be turned down FOR THAT REASON if and when they have to apply for a different insurance. The Affordable Care Act could use some definite reforms to eliminate the problems caused by parts of its establishment law. The so-called “Death Spin” or “Crashing” of Obamacare is as much due to actions taken by the administration and by Congress that threaten the funding of the program rather than the program itself.

Many Americans are just becoming aware that the attacks on Obamacare will deprive them of the health insurance that they need and have come to depend on. They had no idea that the Affordable Care Act (which they love) and Obamacare (which they HATE,) are one and the same thing. The presently proposed programs will deprive them of health insurance.

With that in mind, we need to remember the following information:

Almost all ultra-conservative Members of Congress do not believe the Government should be in the business of providing health care insurance or any Social Benefits for all Americans, especially for the lower economic classes. To gain their support for ANY program, serious cuts must be made to the spending involved.

Many other Republicans also share a belief that the Government should not be involved in Social Programs. Republican House and Senate Leadership wants serious changes, cuts and possible abolition of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Some Congress Members and members of the Administration only want to get rid of anything that might give some credit to former President Obama. This is just a fact that will have to be dealt with if any real progress is to be made. For that matter, rename the program but don’t add insult to injury by naming it after any current leadership.

Members of both parties should put aside partisan politics and work together for a program that will provide the most benefits for all Americans at a reasonable cost. Substituting tax “credits” for tax “subsidies” will also cut a large number of people from the insurance program. Not many lower and middle-class individuals or families can afford to pay the monthly difference now covered by subsidies and wait until they get their ANNUAL tax refund to see their savings realized.

Whatever program is finally adopted should also apply to all members of the House, Senate, the Administration and their staffs. These elected and appointed representatives are not members of a special social class entitled to their own benefits. If it is good enough for the average American, it should be good enough for Congress.

Congress should forget about using health care reform as both an occasion and a reason for a tax break for the highest earners in the US. While powerful and wealthy corporations, families and individuals do support members of Congress in their work and in their election campaigns, these people should not expect special consideration or tax breaks because of their generosity. The Republican party leadership needs to recognize that “trickle-down economics” has not worked for decades. There is no logical reason to expect it to work today.

Social Security and Medicare are NOT primarily entitlement programs. It was intended to be an insurance program to provide for elderly and sick citizens. Social Security would probably be more than solvent if past representatives had not raided the funds for other purposes. These were never tax funds to be used at the whim and fancy of Congress and/or administrations. There was at least an implied contract between the citizen and the government.

The government of the United States spends the highest percentage of its GDP on the support of the military and its needs. The Military-Industrial complex has vastly benefited from cost overruns, privatization programs and other so-called reforms. Rather than simply allocating additional funds which continue the present abuses, serious efforts should be made to make their operation much more efficient and economical. Serious consideration should also be made to take care of those who have served their country and are in need of care and/or economic opportunity. Our veterans have definitely earned these benefits by giving of life and limb to carry out their mission.

Last, but not least, something drastic has to be done to control the greed of the pharmaceutical companies and their leaders. No corporation should be allowed to reap exorbitant profits from the sale of medicines, etc. that have been funded to a great extent by Government Grants, Tax Exemptions and other benefits. Their price raises have contributed enormously to the rise in the cost of medical care. No corporation or individual should be rewarded for their greed and dishonesty.

Any serious American needs to insist on proper behavior from their elected representative. Anyone basing their political outlook on their Christian faith needs to remember the “whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to Me,” teaching which is at its core. Years ago in typing class, one of the sentences we had to type over and over again is: “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.” The meaning of this statement is more important now than it has been for many years.