Health Care Reform and Politics as Usual

WASHINGTON DC – Contrary to the story that is being told by the dramas playing out at town hall gatherings across the country, majority of Americans support health care reform. And we really do need health care reform in this country. Millions of American citizens do not have any form of Health Insurance; millions more lose their health insurance every day.

Most people have their claims denied because of preexisting conditions and more people simply cannot afford health insurance.
The attitudes of most politicians and pundits who are opposed to health care reform and a public option is that people without health care insurance are just too lazy to be bothered and especially for the politicians, people without health insurance are not their constituents since these are more likely to be minorities. Therefore it is not their problem, but the election of President Obama seemed to have particularly strengthened their resolve in defeating all efforts to reform health care.
It’s been a difficult month for Democrats in Congress and President Obama. The Republican Party has been against every bill and every idea that’s been conceived, not because they have a constructive opposing bill or idea to present but because they think they can win back the vote of the American people by becoming a stumbling block.
Although most people will agree that we cannot continue to borrow to finance our way in the world, we shouldn’t because of a budget deficit fail to act either, especially since the change is essential in our moving forward as a stronger country and a stronger economy.
Spending on health care has been rising steadily for years and it is becoming unsustainable. According to the data provided by the government on
• Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have more than doubled in the last 9 years.
• Approximately $2.2 trillion was spent on health care in 2007 which comes to 16.2% of GDP.
• Health care costs doubled from 1996 to 2006, and are projected to rise to 25% of GDP in 2025 and 49% in 2082.
The United States is the only major industrialized nation in the world without health care coverage for all its citizens. Small businesses cannot afford to provide health insurance coverage for their workers and people have to choose between health care and other necessities because of cost.
It is shameful when Americans have to worry about how much their treatment will cost when they are diagnosed with devastating diseases or worse the medical debts they might be leaving behind for survivals to inherit.
Talk to a couple of people and you will hear stories of how insurance companies avoid paying for treatments by telling patients that they have a pre-existing condition.
A man who was in a devastating car accident which almost killed him got home and a $50,000 hospital bill was his welcome home present.
Many people get bills from the doctor’s offices months after a procedure or test because the insurance refused to pay. Our companies are being crippled by the rising cost of health care, GM is a good example. Bad management had a lot to do with their current state of affairs but how much they spend on health care coverage for their workers didn’t help matters at all.
The main opposition to health care reform is insurance companies and conservatives who argue that a public option will kill private insurance and private companies. Also, recently former Alaska governor Sarah Palin saying death panels are going to be formed to decide who lives or dies and that the government is not good at running anything.
Consider the sources, a certain group makes huge profits every year and will continue to rake in the profits by maintaining the status quo. Conservatives are just out to make sure that the Obama administration does not achieve anything constructive so they can be trounced in the next election year. And Palin, well let’s just say she’s short of a few of the old gray cells.
And as much as the Republican opposition hates government, they all seem so eager to work for the government. They don’t all volunteer to resign except for Palin; they enjoy the perks of their various jobs while literally screwing their constituents. They believe empathy is a dirty word; they also want us to continue to trust in them because they’ve all done such a marvelous job these past eight years.
The thing is, government might not be the best answer to the problems facing this country considering the past eight years, but since this is a democracy, and unlike North Korea, Iran or Insurance companies our government is accountable to us. We reserve the right to kick them out whenever we want if they are not working in our interest. Insurance companies have only their own interest at heart, and that interest is to make as much money as they can. We also have no control over what they do, they can deny coverage and have unfair practices but there is nothing anyone can do since we have no option.
The American people deserve to have the best health care coverage possible and since insurance companies cannot provide that unless forced to, then a strong competition should be made available. The strongest competition will be a public option which is subsidized by the government and anyone who is not happy with their health insurance can join as well as all the other uninsured or underinsured Americans.
If the economic downturn of the past year has taught us anything, it is that private companies are run by selfish adults who behave more like children. They need constant supervision which in this case will translate to regulations so they don’t mismanage the companies they are in charge of while lining their own pockets with fat bonuses. The culture of getting paid while running the company you are in charge of into the ground and lack of adequate regulations led us into this crisis. We shouldn’t let the health insurance companies lead us into another crisis in future.
If they can spend millions of dollars on campaigns to kill the proposed health care reform, then they can damn well afford to provide the best coverage for the American people.
It makes you wonder though, if they are doing such a good job why are they afraid of reform.
And to those elected officials who are more interested in defeating the president’s agenda than in representing the needs of their constituents, it is time for them to wake up and smell the coffee. Insurance companies might be bankrolling their campaigns but their constituents’ votes for them; insurance companies can only provide so many votes on Election Day. We the American people elect you to represent us not the insurance companies. It is time to stop reading PR memos from insurance companies and lobbyist and have a real debate that will lead to a real reform, because lost in the midst of all the back and forth and ideological divide is the absolute truth that we need better health care in this country. A government run health care might not be the ultimate solution but let’s at least have the debate. And at the end of the day, a reform that matters not a series of rules that translates to nothing in the real world.

Yetunde Adurota writes from Washignton for trendy africa

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