Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Political sidenote

23 December 2009

Re: Health Care Reform Bill

To anyone who thinks the current Health Care Reform Bill is a 'government takeover' of the health industry:

I know that many news stations out there are spinning bits and pieces of the current legislation under debate to make Americans worry about what the bill really says. I know that some politicians have been very vocal about accusing the government of trying to create 'death panels,' of trying to 'socialize' the system, or of trying to force people to buy into a government insurance option.

However, what you are hearing is false. These people are manipulating the language and intent of the bill in order to make you afraid, so that the insurance companies win and the health industry remains an unfair playing field.

This bill, to my personal disappointment, does not include a single form of a government-backed, publicly-funded insurance option. The federal government is merely trying to impose some much-needed regulation on this industry, which is quickly running out of control.

To those of you who say, "Well, the government shouldn't be taking care of people. It should come from the communities and churches," I say, "Where do you live?" Because I live in a country where that does not happen. Sure, that would be super if people took care of each other. But they do not. How many times have you walked passed a homeless veteran asking for money and thought to yourself, "I bet he has no insurance, and can't afford his medication to treat schizophrenia/PTSD/paranoia/etc. I'll take him to the pharmacy and buy him what he needs. It's my duty, as his neighbor, to take care of him." I'm going to guess: NEVER. Or if your neighbor is sick, you help pay for their medical bills? Or if you get into a car accident with an uninsured driver, and their kid breaks her leg, do you offer to pay for her hospital visit, since you're partly to blame, and you're part of their community, and they have no insurance? And church? Well, that's nice for you if you go to church, but what of the millions in this country who don't? Are you going to require them to join and attend a religious community just so they can get some help when they're in need?

Guess what? In a perfect world, yes, people would take care of each other. But our world is far from perfect, and most people have enough trouble just taking care of themselves, even WITH health insurance.

But, back to my original point. The government is only trying to protect your rights in regard to health insurance, so that these ever-growing companies cannot continue to suck us dry financially. Read on:

The Senate health reform bill will:

-- Extend coverage to 31 million Americans, the largest expansion of coverage since the creation of Medicare.

-- Ensure that you can choose your own doctor.

-- Finally stop insurance companies from denying coverage due to a pre-existing condition.

-- Make sure you will never be charged exorbitant premiums on the basis of your age, health, or gender.

-- Guarantee you will never lose your coverage just because you get sick or injured.

-- Protect you from outrageous out-of-pocket expenditures by establishing lifetime and annual limits.

-- Allow young people to stay on their parents' coverage until they're 26 years old.

-- Create health insurance exchanges, or "one-stop shops" for individuals purchasing insurance, where insurance companies are forced to compete for new customers.

-- Lower premiums for families, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office -- especially for struggling folks who will receive subsidies.

-- Help small businesses provide health care coverage to their employees with tax credits and by allowing them to purchase coverage through the exchanges.

-- Improve and strengthen Medicare by eliminating waste and fraud (without cutting basic benefits), beginning to close the Medicare Part D donut hole, and extending the life of the Medicare trust fund.

-- Create jobs by reining in costs -- fostering competition, reducing waste and inefficiency, and starting to reward doctors and hospitals for quality, not quantity, of care.

-- Cut the deficit by over $130 billion in the next 10 years.

Seems pretty helpful to me. And simply necessary. If you don't like it, great. You don't have to do anything differently. But just because you're already happy with your own insurance, doesn't mean you should fight to prevent other people from getting their own protection and coverage.

Just saying.


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