http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/ct-perspec-0314-lahood-20100314,0,3364029.story

Someone in the comments section of the previous post added this link to an excellent story.  Of course, former Congressman LaHood is now a member of the Obama administration and as such, there are those who would say that he’s doing a little bit of apple polishing, so to speak.  But let’s get away from partisan political wrangling here for a minute and take a look at what he says.  If this bill does, indeed, do even a percentage of what it is designed to do, then I can’t understand the opposition to it, except that the partisanship and gridlock in Congress has gotten so bad, that there is a lot of fear that the passage of this bill, and the benefit it will eventually bring about, would give the party that got the credit for passing it some kind of political advantage. 

Here are a few exerpts, which essentially are the main reasons I am for this bill:

“We do not need to look that far down the road to see the pain that failure to pass health care reform will cause. Americans of every background, class, race and political persuasion are suffering. We have the best health care system in the world, yet more than 40 million Americans lack access to it, a reality that is morally reprehensible. Health care is an essential, as important as food, water and shelter. Those who don’t have it are left without the tools to survive. (emphasis mine)

I would add that access to it is a right to life, sanctity of human life issue.  Read on:

“The bill will give families and small business owners greater control over their own health care. It will expand coverage to more than 31 million Americans and will include tax credits to individuals, families and small businesses, giving them the same choices that members of Congress have to purchase private coverage. It will create state-based exchanges that will bring competition and transparency to insurance markets. And it will put in place common-sense rules of the road to hold insurance companies accountable and end some of the most outrageous practices of the insurance industry.
Well said.  There’s a lot of griping about this bill raising taxes.  Why aren’t the same gripers hollering about rate hikes in health insurance premiums, which are much greater than the actual rate of inflation?

Never again will people be denied coverage because they have a pre-existing condition. Never again will insurance companies be able to raise rates unfairly — like the 60 percent hikes expected in Illinois.”

One of the reasons I don’t think we’re going to see what some are predicting will be a turnaround at the ballot box in November relates to those last paragraphs.  In California, health insurance rates shot up by something like 40% recently, and LaHood makes note of an anticipated 60% increase in Illinois.  Companies in other states will follow suit.  That could very well be why 219 Democrats confidently passed this bill. 

I understand all the concerns raised in opposition, from fear of a government takeover of the system itself, to the “requirement” that everyone must purchase health insurance coverage, to the concerns about the spending.  I hope that the financial figures quoted by former Congressman LaHood are accurate.  But from a personal perspective, I also know that I have reached the upper limit of what I can afford in terms of health care coverage, I’ve already dropped a dental plan that was costly, and didn’t provide much coverage.  My spouse’s employer, through whom I purchase my insurance, has done a remarkable job of negotiating rates and switching companies when necessary in order to provide the best coverage and they currently pay 80% of hers, though they would have to lower that if there were an increase in premiums.  I am reimbursed for a portion of mine.  Without coverage, well, I don’t even want to go there.  Protecting citizens is a responsibility of government, and while I certainly understand that the government can’t do everything for you, this is one of those things in the face of which individual citizens are powerless. 

It is time to get beyond the partisan politics, and do something for We, the people.

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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.

2 responses

  1. Rate hike are unrelated to inflation. They are directly related to the increase in the cost of health care, not food or gasoline.

    Pre-existing conditions: you insure your automobile. You put your money in a pot and they pay claims out of it, spending YOUR money. Some guy comes in with a wrecked car, buys a policy, and then says “fix it”. you’d object to that, and rightly so.

    The pre-ex laws are now going to do the same thing, only you won’t have the chance to change companies to one that doesn’t squander your money.

    I spent 50 years in the insurance business and repeat what I said before; the American public (even the ones against it) have NO idea what’s been done to them.

    • Colby says:

      Bob,
      Bad comparison. People are not automobiles. People have feelings, are in pain, and generally wind up with pre-existing conditions through no fault of their own. Health care is a moral issue, auto repair isn’t. And the fact of the matter is that most people with pre-existing conditions who are out of the insurance system were booted because their condition, before it materialized, cost the insurance company a few bucks in profit.
      The costs and profits are high in health care not because the product offered costs so much to produce, but because it is the one “industry” in the American economy where people have their backs up against a wall, and can be squeezed by fear, pain, suffering, and even matters of life and death, into parting with more of their resources than they really need to in order to get relief. Most of the rest of the industrialized world has realized this. LaHood realizes it. Maybe one day, most Americans will, too.