Events of the past couple of weeks have convinced me, if I hadn’t been convinced before, that it is time for our Congress to do the right thing by the American people and pass health care reform.  Yeah, I wish that a bi-partisan plan which has taken into consideration every possible penny of expense and where it will come from would be on the table and ready to go, but I’m beginning to believe that’s an impossibility in an atmosphere that has turned something we should think of as simply a basic human right into both a competetive, profit making industry and a political issue.  Shame on us for allowing that to happen!

There are two men whom I’ve become close friends with over the past five years who illustrate the need for comprehensive health care reform in America beautifully.  Both men are, at the present time, in their last days on earth.  One is in the advanced stages of cancer and after an unsuccessful round of chemotherapy, has decided not to move on with another, and has stopped all of the medication and therapy he was receiving, and moved into a hospice care center.  I’ll call him Mike.  The other suffers from cardio-vascular problems, is past ninety years of age, and experiencing the beginning of organ shut-down.  He, too, has decided against receiving further treatment and has been moved to a nursing home for pain management until the end comes.  I’ll call him John. 

Mike was a businessman who worked in banking, finance and investment for most of his career.  He built up a substantial stock portfolio, savings, and worked for a business that provided him with full health care coverage of the highest quality.  Living, as he did, in a city with access to some of the best hospitals in the country, when he was originally diagnosed with cancer, he was able to receive the finest treatment available on the face of the planet, and survived the original diagnosis by over 30 years.  Insurance premiums, co-payments, deductibles, have never been a problem for him, because since he has the best plans available, he has the lowest rates available as well.  Once he reached retirement age, and qualified for medicare, his secondary insurance coverage kicked in and he’s been provided with medical care for a very low out of pocket cost, mainly the premium for the secondary policy.  He is able to spend his last days being cared for around the clock in a comfortable hospice center.

John has not been as fortunate, though he worked just as hard, and lived in the same city, and country, there is quite a difference between the medical care he was able to access as a result of what he has been able to afford.  John worked in the hardware business after getting out of the Army after the war (the Big One) and then entered the ministry, serving for more than fifty years as an associate pastor.  He was able to manage his finances and comfortably care for his family for all of that time.  As a minister, he was able to opt out of medicare and social security, and invest those dollars in private sector enterprises which promised to provide both a larger retirement income than the government could do, and better health care coverage than the government’s medicare program, especially since John qualified for VA benefits.  Unfortunately, with the downturn in the economy, and with things never being exactly as they are presented in commercial enterprises, that hasn’t exactly been the case.  His limited health care coverage has forced his family to make decisions regarding his medical care based on what his provider will pay for, rather than what is best for John because they cannot afford, on retirement income, to pay the difference in the actual costs.  The Veteran’s health care system, because of government funding cuts, is jammed to capacity, with long waiting lists for care, and even six to eight hour waits just to see a physician.  Though he lives in an America which boasts of having the best health care system in the world, John doesn’t have the money to access it, and must settle for what his insurance provider tells him he can have, based on the limits of what they will pay, which is far less than the best available.  He is spending his last days in a nursing home, sharing a semi-private room with three other patients, waiting on a bed at the VA center, if it comes available before he passes on. 

Two men, both in the same city, in the same country, with the same opportunity, equally hard workers, equally industrious, but left, in their final days, with vastly different options related to their health care, and their final days because a system that claims to be the world’s best is not equitably distributed, simply because of the dollar amounts involved.  How many millions of other Americans find themselves in the same situation?

Listening to Massachussetts’ newly elected Senator Scott Brown talk about the health care proposal yesterday prompted me to make this post.  Mr. Brown, frankly, is flat wrong in his assertion that “the American people” don’t want health care reform, or that they, universally, don’t want this particular version of it “passed over their heads by the Democrats.”  Mr. Brown is a prosperous attorney, with lots of money, and even prior to his election to the senate, didn’t have to worry about his or his family’s health care coverage and now, as a member of Congress, has better coverage than just about any other American.  He can afford to obfuscate and attempt to delay and blockade reform.  But there are a lot of other people who can’t.  My wife and I, who are in the middle class, both working, both earning good wages, are at the point where another increase in our health care premiums will force us into decisions about having to cut back on other things, perhaps downsizing our housing, or adjusting our transportation, or cutting out more leisure activities (which we have already severely limited).  But I know many others who have had to cut back on essentials, who choose between prescription medication and food, and who simply put off seeking medical care for chronic conditions simply because they cannot afford it.

Do we really believe in the sanctity of human life?  How can it be, then, that in America, we have the best health care in the world, and we are the most prosperous country in the world, but those three things are essentially meaningless to the uninsured, underinsured, and to those who are becoming increasingly hard pressed because of the percentage of their spendable income that is being demanded to pay for coverage, not health care itself? 

It’s time for politicians like Scott Brown to stop licking their finger and sticking it up into the wind to see which way it is blowing, and then voting that way.  Opposition to the current health care proposal has fallen below the 50% mark, so to claim that they are doing “what the American people want,” like both he and Senator McCain have done recently is just not accurate.  But here is a chance for some Washington politicians, regardless of their political affiliation, to do something right, regardless of what the opinion polls say, and to act out of sheer conviction, regardless of the political consequences, if indeed there will be any.   As a Christian, I am convicted and saddened by the situation as it already exists, in which many people simply do not have health insurance for themselves or their children.  And as an individual, I fear that the day is close at hand when I will not be able to afford the health care coverage I need to take care of my own condition, requiring daily medication that I couldn’t even come close to being able to afford if it were not for insurance coverage. 

I have a feeling the overall reaction to politicians standing up to do the right thing will be considerably different than the political consequences predicted by the opposition.

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About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

23 responses

  1. christiane says:

    Thank you. For posting about ‘the heart of Christ’, the idea that the life of a person is more important than the ‘right’ of an insurance company to make a profit.
    After enduring hearing ‘Christians’ speak of Christ as a capitalist who would support the insurance companies rights to profit, above all else, it gives hope to hear about the issue of health care in a way that reflects the teachings of the ‘real’ Christ.

  2. K Gray says:

    Yes, yes, anyone who does not like this particular way of improving healthcare delivery and/or insurance is unChristian.

    You guys were incensed when the religious right implied that anyone who disagreed with their political agendas was not a good Christian. And now you are using exactly the same argument.

    • Lee says:

      There’s nothing here to imply that someone who disagrees with this particular health care reform bill isn’t a good Christian. I just think that a lot of people are so biased, and so polarized politically, that they equate a Christian perspective exclusively with the view of one particular party, and then follow that through on everything that party wants to do, even though there are places where the party political agenda deviates from Christian principles. This is one of them.

      The application of supply side economic theory to health care is a moral issue. I hear all the arguments that profit motive is what has led America to create the world’s best health care system. And yet, most of the cutting edge medical research that has produced our standing in the world of medicine has taken place in not-for-profit environments, research institutions and even in the military on the field during times of war. Though most people are oblivious to it, the fact of the matter is that the more critical the patient, the higher the profit, because people are willing to pay just about anything to relieve their suffering or preserve their life, and that is reflected in the cost of critical health care. Is that right, from a Christian perspective? And yet, that is the system that we currently have.

      Do we believe that only the wealthiest citizens, who can afford the best health care coverage, should have access to the “world’s best” cutting edge health care advances, while those who don’t have the money to afford the best plans must settle for what’s left over? Though I think a reasonable case can be made that there are several European countries which practice “socialized medicine” where the advances in research and standards of care are ahead of the US, the fact is that the cutting edge technology, and high level advances in medical science are not available to the average American middle class insurance policy holder. And if that’s the case for them, then what’s the situation for someone who can’t afford to pay the insurance premiums, which now average over $700 a month per person? Is there a Christian principle which teaches that those who can’t afford access to decent health care shouldn’t receive it?

    • christiane says:

      What is ‘Christian’ about ‘profit-care’ at the expense of human life?

      As far as ‘agenda’, let’s try using ‘Christian ethics’, or ‘Christian morality’, or possibly, just possibly, discuss this in the light of Christ’s love. There is NO ‘Christian’ far-right agenda that could ever choose profits for an insurance company over the right of its patient-clients to life-saving treatment. That agenda is political. And it is immoral.
      There may be Christians, of course, who don’t want gov’t -run health care, but they also don’t want insurance companies deciding who lives and who dies, which is now the case.
      So, what to be done?
      Christians need to always reflect ‘what is right’, ‘what is ethical’, ‘what is moral’, but most of all, ‘what is dear to the heart of Our Lord, in matters of the dignity of the human person who is made in the ‘image of God’.

      Tea, anyone?

  3. Colby Evans says:

    Right on target! I’m not 100% sure this particular proposal will do everything that needs to be done with health care, but I think it will do two things. One, it will help those who need it most and it will most definitely help keep the cost of insurance and health care services reasonable. As we’ve seen, there is more than an abundance of profit in this industry to go around several times, and make everyone in it comfortable. Let’s not be so greedy and selfish, especially when the market that is cornered is related to human pain and suffering, and preservation of life. Two, for the first time since I can remember, politicians will have demonstrated the courage to do the right thing, regardless of the political consequences. Frankly, I don’t think there will be consequences at the ballot box in November, not as a result of this issue. I think if the Democrats turn out to be the courageous ones here, and the GOP plays the role of roadblock, they’re the ones who will pay the political cost. I think most of these polls are bought and paid for by the health insurance companies to create the image that a majority is against reform, to scare enough Democrats into failing to vote for it to keep it from passing. But remember, the Democrats were elected, partly on a promise to institute health care reform. So this poll crap that you see is just that, crap. It’s not really how people feel.

  4. K Gray says:

    You have reemphasized that one side is right, moral, and Christian, and strongly implied that the other is wrong, immoral and not very Christian.

    The false dichotomy you posit is that anyone who is not in favor of this health care reform bill is in favor of greed. As if there was no other option.

    I wonder how many people sitting in your congregations are troubled by the health care reform bill in some way? Are they employers? Is anyone on Medicare, worried about cuts? Do any doctors sit out there – perhaps a family physician with a large Medicaid patient base who is concerned that when the 21% cuts come he will have to stop taking Medicaid patients because the reimbursement does not cover the cost of service and his business will go into the red? Is there someone who read Moody’s warning this week that if the U.S. does not do something in the 3-5 year window to control spending the consequences for the entire economy may be dire? (Supposed healthcare reform cost savings appear in the second decade, not the first). Or read the CBO costing of the healthcare bill, containing multiple warnings? (I have).

    Are they the bad guys you are talking about here?

    Why can’t we have respect for one another? I certainly respect your viewpoint. It’s a very complex piece of legislation which I have studied for months. People can be for or against it for many reasons. Some people (Dennis Kucinich) will vote no b/c he doesn’t think it goes far enough. Some believe it has “system-wrecking” potential ala California, whose well-intentioned legislative generosity has caused the decline of its schools and prisons, now requiring across-the board austerity that will hurt the needy more than ever. Some believe entitlements lead to dependence and deaden enterprise, so that generations learn that the government will support bad choices, like indulgent parents who never say no. Some believe the bill repeats mistakes made by states (Hawaii, Maine) whose healthcare reform costs have expanded much more than anticipated, and are eating into other necessary services. Some believe that with the Medicare and Social Security trustee’s reports clearing warning of shortfalls in those entitlements, we should not be making new ones if we can’t keep the current ones. Some believe the new entitlements are not really funded, because they rely on “promises to cut expenses” which, history shows, never happens (and have already been overridden several times in the last few months). Many state governors oppose because the bill puts costs onto state budgets and will require cuts in other services, again perhaps hurting the needy.

    It’s hard to tell right now whether the proposed changes reform anything, or just entrench and enlarge the problems we’re trying to fix.

    So why can’t we have respect for one another in complex political areas? Where is all the nuance and careful thinking and common ground advocated for issues like abortion? Why are we right back to the “terrible conservatives” or “terrible liberals” narratives? It’s all the same: if you don’t agree with me, you’re wrong AND BAD and in favor of greed, whatever.

    Congress and the public agree our healthcare system needs improvement, reform. The means, funding, extent, risks, size, etc. are at issue. Some people may be motivated by greed. I don’t know why we have to be in the condemning business when we disagree.

  5. K Gray says:

    Congress could pass a law requiring insurance companies to be nonprofit, but that might be unconstitutional; also, it is reported that taking away insurance companies’ annual profits would pay for approximately two days of America’s health care expenses.

    Just a last note: The House Budget Committee just took a preliminary vote on the Stupak language, offered by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Two Democrats left the room and one — chairman of the committee, changed his vote from yes to no. He may have reasons for that. But this is the way it’s going. Overarching judgments about moral courage are very hard to make.

    • Colby Evans says:

      I’ve heard that figure about the profits of the insurance companies taking care of about two days of health care expenses. That’s either talk radio propaganda or paid propaganda being spread by the insurance companies, or a combination of both. You’ve got profit, which pays stock dividends to shareholders, and you’ve got profit, which is rolled into the salaries of executives and board members. United Health Care has a $100 million a year head honcho, and pays out almost $1 billion in salaries and bonuses at the executive level. In actuality, about 30% of what insurance companies collect in premiums goes to health care benefits for policyholders. They hide their profit margins well in the negotiated price deals they have with health care providers, many of whom are also owned, in part or in whole, by insurance companies. That’s the corner on the market. If you don’t have insurance, you pay the full rate. If you do, your provider pays a third of that amount, or less in some cases depending on the service provided. For example, my recent mishap on a motorcycle, broken leg, surgery and three day stay in the hospital, would have cost $28,000 at the hospital’s posted rates. But when I got the insurance claim, after I paid my $5,000 out of pocket, they paid $8,500 for a total of $13,500, still high, but much less than I’d have had to come up with if I didn’t have insurance. And considering I’ve had my current policy for 7 years, and I’ve paid in a total of about $47,000 in premiums over that time, they have still made a pile of money on me. There’s lots of complaining in this country about the quality of socialized medicine in some European countries, but in the long run, the medical tax that most Europeans pay is, in some places, as much as 60% less than our insurance rates, and the care is really about the same. In fact, in the US, the wait to get an appointment with a specialist is longer than it is in most European countries with socialized medicine. But you know, quality of care aside, I live in a part of the country where a lot of people cross the border to Mexico for both medical care and prescription medication because they’ve had to weigh the cost of care against their resources and needs.

  6. christiane says:

    I don’t ‘imply’, I state flat out that to allow a health insurance company to control whether some of its clients live or die is immoral.
    The right of an insurance company to a profit does not over-ride the life of a client. There is just too much abuse going on for us to ‘look away’ and cross to the other side of the road.
    When our citizens’ welfare is endangered for profit, it IS the duty of the American people to intervene, as a people. This is called civic responsibility. Some people forget, we have rights in this country ‘to life’, and we have responsibilities to see that our rights are preserved.
    The current ‘profit-care’ at the expense of life is unethical, immoral, un-Christian, and must become illegal and punishable as a crime against our citizens.

  7. K Gray says:

    No one wants abuse or criminal conduct. And excessive profit usually offends — just one reason why we the public agree to regulation of some industries.

    Three things. One, when the gov’t heavily regulates a private industry (e.g. public utilities), the Supreme Court has said that, in order to avoid an unconstitutional ‘taking w/o just compensation,’ the industry is entitled to a ‘risk-adjusted reasonable return on their investment.’ So I’m not sure the gov’t can so stringently regulate private insurance companies that it eliminates profit altogether. That’s a legal issue. And that may not be what you’re saying, but some people are. So it’s a consideration.

    Second, ins. co. profits aren’t the funding mechanism for the healthcare exchanges. (Are they?) So funding and financial viability remain issues. (Colby, I agree the two-days figure may be propaganda. It’s unprovable).

    Third, some kind of reform is going to happen. Agreement on that is a major development. Unfortunately, there is no widespread agreement on the how. If you are satisfied that this is the best path, that the good will outweigh the increase in systemic risk and foreseeable consequences, that is a respectful position.

    If someone else is looking at Maine’s Romney care (similar to fed proposal), and seeing the spiraling costs, highest premiums in the nation, and legislature now looking at cost and eligibility cuts, and concluding the proposed reform is not wise or viable, then I respect that too.

    Time will tell.

  8. christiane says:

    The profit motive is what drives the health insurance industry. The whole industry was created to make money.
    It’s a business, not a profession. Unfortunately, the less health care the insurance company ‘allows’ its clients, the more profit it will make. This is the reality that has led to so much abuse of innocent clients, even to the point of denying payment for life-saving medical treatment.

  9. Lee says:

    I think Christiane has articulated this well. Health care is considered an “industry” or a “business” in the economy when it is essentially a basic human right. That’s what I have most difficulty with, and where my Christian principles come into play. Here we have the best technology and some of the highest level care available, treatment techniques and cures for diseases and conditions that were once fatal, but which are only available to those who either have the money to pay for it without worry, or who have an insurance plan that will cover it. But our legislators still think of it as an industry or a business, and they want to apply free enterprise principles to it. Desperate people will come to a point in their experience where they will sacrifice just about anything they have to in order to get relief from their pain, or to alleviate their suffering and preserve their life. This makes it easy to take advantage of them, and that’s one reason why health care costs are soaring. It becomes a quick buck when someone will pay several hundred dollars for a pill, not because it costs that much to produce, but because there’s a patent on it, the manufacturer has a corner on the market, and can create a high demand for it.

    There’s a whole boatload of misinformation floating around out there, most of it put in place by the mechanisms used by insurance companies and prescription drug companies to try and kill this legislation. The pro-life crowd is riled up because there’s a rumor about mandatory government funding of abortions, which isn’t in this bill and which is prevented by the Hyde amendment. There are still people who think that there’s a “death clause” in the bill. There isn’t. They’ve stopped pointing to “socialized medicine” in Canada because more Americans are going there for medical care and medication than there are Canadians coming here for it. The “soaring costs” in Massachussetts are due to that profiteering greed resulting from having a tax entity with a cash flow stream that providers, insurers and prescription drug companies want to tap into, not because of the program itself. And the lobbyists and talk radio propagandists have invented polls with skewed questions to try and scare enough Congressmen and Senators away from support of the proposal with talk that “the American people” don’t want this. It seems there’s plenty of evidence out there that, if told the truth, the American people would demand far more than this particular proposal will deliver, and that scares the insurance companies, corporate health care providers and prescription drug companies to death because they might actually have to provide something in exchange for the cash they are collecting.

    Health care is not an industry. It is a basic human right that is as much a part of the right to life as opposition to abortion and euthanasia.

  10. K Gray says:

    I disagree with most sentences above, and I see no facts. But I respect your desire give everyone the best.

  11. K Gray says:

    “The pro-life crowd is riled up because there’s a rumor about mandatory government funding of abortions, which isn’t in this bill and which is prevented by the Hyde amendment.”

    I would like to address this if I may. Here is the argument:

    The Hyde Amendment applies to a big Labor/Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations bill made every year. It first applied in 1976; Congress has renewed it every year.

    But it only applies to 1) funds appropriated annually under the HHS appropriations bill; and 2) any other place Congress specifically applies it.

    Meanwhile, federal courts have ruled that the fed. definition of “health services” includes abortion, unless the statute specifically excludes it. (As an example, Indian territories’ health clinics could not refuse to provide abortions until Congress passed a statute forbidding it. Hyde didn’t apply).

    So, here comes HR 3200, healthcare reform bill as passed by the Senate.

    – It is not part of an HHS appropriations bill, but has its own appropriations (revenue). So the Hyde amendment does not generally apply. If it did, what’s the Stupak/Capps/Waxman/Nelson fuss?

    – Section 10503 authorizes a “CHC Fund” for Community Healthcare Centers and the bill also appropriates the funds. There is no general Hyde language in the bill that would prevent CHC’s from providing abortions.

    – In contrast, a section addressing in-school healthcare clinics specifically forbids abortions there. The sections on policy coverage address abortion too.

    – The House had included general Hyde language in its version of the bill so pro-life House Dems (Stupak group) voted it through. But then the Senate rejected Hyde-like language. The Senate’s compromise — in order to win Sen. Ben Nelson as the 60th vote — required every enrollee of health exchange policies which cover abortion (some don’t) to write a separate check for abortion coverage. This is to technically segregate funds for abortion in the healthcare exchange so they can still say we’re not federally funding abortion. It’s a compromise.

    Those are some of the issues.

  12. K Gray says:

    So to clarify one point:

    If you end up getting your ins. policy in a healthcare exhange, and the policy you like best for your family happens to include abortion, you will be writing two checks, one for the policy and one for the abortion coverage. It’s not an option or a rider but something that comes with the plan, and you pay for it separately whether you want it or not. The bill specifically says “every enrollee.”

    For conscience, the bill requires that every healthcare exchange must contain at least one policy that doesn’t cover abortion, and at least one that does. Planned Parenthood is worried that most insurers will choose not to cover abortion; prolifers are concerned that more insurers will, leaving them captive to a pricey “conscience” plan. Who knows. I hear that more insurers cover abortion than not.

    I hope this sheds some light. Sorry to over-post and I’ll stop now!

  13. Colby Evans says:

    Objecting to the language in this bill regarding abortion is a smokescreen. It’s hard to find a lot of information about insurance coverage of abortion procedures from the companies themselves, because they are afraid of boycotts or exclusion by pro-life advocates. It’s a moot point in this particular bill, however, because its an insurance related issue here, not a government funding issue.

    I’m not particularly happy with this particular bill, and I am not sure that I like the idea of simply getting something passed with the hope of being able to tweak and change it as time goes by. On the other hand, if this bill dies, you can bet that insurance companies and prescription drug manufacturers will go even more berzerk than they already are. They’ve been the chief underwriters of a national campaign of misinformation, feeding rumor and inuendo (death clauses, government bureaucrats determining what health benefits you can receive) among the gullible in order to get people to call their congressmen. There’s an alleged “letter” from an Indiana doctor to Senator Bayh circulating on email with some of the craziest accusations and wildest rumors of all.

    I’m in agreement with the posts here that declare health care to be a humanitarian pursuit, and not a for-profit business. Profit margins and supply side economics that depend on the pain and suffering of human beings are as immoral as abortion, and to be a “pro-life” advocate, you have to consider all of it, and not just conception, gestation and birth. The sooner Americans come around to that, and see health care as a gift of life, rather than a quick angle to make a buck, the better off we will all be.

  14. christiane says:

    At the heart of the controversy remains this: what is the value of a single human life?

    On this question, rests the strength of our entire civilization, because it is how we treat the ones who cannot care for themselves that determines our own claim to humanity.
    If our dependent children, our handicapped and mentally and physically challenged, and our elderly are ‘worth-less’ as humans in our society, what have we become?

    The needs of the helpless among us call to us in a way that brings us forward as a human race.
    We know this regardless of ‘political party’ because it is engraved on our hearts to respond to the helpless among us by Our Creator. As Christians, we know this very well.
    For those who stand up in support of the ‘rights’ of the health insurance ‘profiteers’ over the rights of innocent people to life-saving care:
    please do not call yourselves ‘Christian’.
    It mocks God.

  15. Colby Evans says:

    So, it passes, and the President will sign it into law.

    Wonder if the propaganda, which has completely and totally mischaracterized this bill from the very beginning, will get worse, or stop?

    Contrary to the propaganda put forth by conservative news sources, and the polling paid for by those in the health care corporate world, the Democrats just sealed their party’s majority in both Houses in the November elections, perhaps even increased their seats, and took a huge step toward Obama’s re-election in 2012. Mark my words, this is huge.

  16. Marshall Johnston says:

    I laud your compassion, but I find a certain irony in your juxtaposition of the conditions of your two friends. You describe John’s position in the following terms: “His limited health care coverage has forced his family to make decisions regarding his medical care based on what his provider will pay for, rather than what is best for John because they cannot afford, on retirement income, to pay the difference in the actual costs. The Veteran’s health care system, because of government funding cuts, is jammed to capacity, with long waiting lists for care, and even six to eight hour waits just to see a physician. Though he lives in an America which boasts of having the best health care system in the world, John doesn’t have the money to access it, and must settle for what his insurance provider tells him he can have, based on the limits of what they will pay, which is far less than the best available.” I fear that under the new health care plan, John’s condition will apply to all of us. Soon all of us will have to settle for what the government tells us we can have. Soon all of us will experience six to eight hour waits (perhaps six to eight week waits) just to see a physician. Soon all of our families will be forced to make medical decisions based upon what the government will pay for rather than what is best for us. Will you feel better when the Mikes of the world are in the same position as John?

  17. Lee says:

    Marshall, you said, “Soon all of our families will be forced to make medical decisions based upon what the government will pay for rather than what is best for us. Will you feel better when the Mikes of the world are in the same position as John?”

    That’s just not accurate, it is certainly not any part of the health care bill that was just passed, and it is not part of any health care proposal that has been on the table. We keep hearing this over and over, that some day, we will be “forced” to make medical decisions based on what the government will pay for, but there is absolutely no basis for it except xenophobia about government involvement, and the fear of the insurance companies that they will have to settle for a reasonable profit and stop stealing us blind.

    In fact the only precedent for it is the fact that in America today, insurance companies based the care that you and your family receive on what they will pay for, once their profit margin is subtracted from the premium you pay. They have “case workers” in hospitals everywhere, watching every move that health care providers make, designating certain procedures “elective” in order to avoid providing coverage that you paid for so that they can pocket more of your money.

    I will feel better when the Johns of this world have the same access to medical treatment and care as the Mikes do, and sitting around blockading attempts at reform won’t accomplish that. That’s exactly what the insurance companies want you to do–sit still while they take more and provide less, and I for one will not sit idly by and allow that to happen like my Republican congressman wants me to do. He lost my vote this week, along with thousands of others in his district who are like John, ripped off and tired of it.

  18. Jack Matthews says:

    If Republicans don’t get control of their agenda, and their ability to speak to it, back from Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the various Tea Party groups, and the kind of misinformation about the health care bill that’s out there now keeps getting circulated around, they will not only lose their credibility as opposition to health care reform, but they will also begin to lose seats in Congress.

  19. christiane says:

    When I was young, the Republican Party was a dignified and respected organization that served moderate Americans, as well as those who were fiscally conservative.

    Yesterday, the nation was exposed to ‘protestors’ using the ‘N’ word, hurling gay slurs, and spitting on a black congressman. And that was ‘outside’ of Congress.
    Inside, a Texas congressman hollered out ‘baby-killer’ at Bart Stupak.
    Look, I know that for many Republicans, these behaviors are not acceptable, but this is what the nation saw. Add to that the tea party members who shouted down all speakers at any town hall debate on health care.

    It adds up.
    But I remember a Republican Party that had dignity and was considered patriotic and law-abiding, and trust-worthy. I want that party back. I want a strong two-party system again, for the sake of our country. Right now, things are not looking so good.

  20. Colby Evans says:

    Jack,
    They already have, in 2006 and 2008. I think what you mean is that they will continue to lose seats, which I wholeheartedly agree with. The “Masters of Misinformation” on the radio and on Fox News have already been proven dead wrong on the funding for abortion and the “death clauses” in government regulated health care, and a dozen other things, and the budget office blew them out of the water with facts about the cost. There is a way to be effective opposition, and they’re not doing it. And that is exactly why I expect the Democrats to gain seats in both Houses in November.