Dec 17, 2009

A Study Case of Failure in Leadership. Yeah, it's the Democratic President & Congress! [Can They Recover?]

WARNING: The following video is funny. (oh, and it uses ..pedestrian language). Buffer the video if you don't have a fast internet connection.

Should every American have equal access to quality health care? This is the only question that matters in this debate. As for the money a proper universal coverage would cost we can certainly afford it. It all depends how we spend the money. Of course, if we spend 50 cents on the dollar for military purposes, they we won't afford it, but clearly it's an obvious matter of priorities.

Any number floated out there by proponents or opponents to reform sounds good to me. Let's say it's $1 trillion for the next 10 years? So what? It's $100 billion a year to cover 300-310 million Americans. It's probably less than $1 a day for each of us! Meanwhile, we're all charged five times that much for military expenditures. Are we buying so much more security--the kind that saves lives like proper and available medical care? We spend more that the whole world combined on military, yet we are not as secure, and, by the way, we aren't as healthy as other advanced democracies! But, we have a system that's heavily influenced by people who don't share in the burdens. Leaders send the kids of others into battle. They have great health benefits that the rest of us, apparently, don't deserve! And, they set up huge corporations that enjoy the profits in private pockets while the risk is often socialized!

We've tried the private insurance approach it hasn't worked. Like it didn't work when NYC had private fire companies. The health care system has failed 1/3 of the people in this country--either because they don't have insurance or they're under-insured. We all pay for this mess, well except for those few who rake in huge profits. This is the only advanced country where you can go broke (bankruptcy) because of medical bills. It has failed to contain costs and increase meaningful competition.

The health of the community is important. The other truth is, the current system is unsustainable. I work for a big private non-profit organization and we all have medical insurance through a private for-profit company. Our premiums have risen way faster that our wages. This has been the case since the 1970s, thus, the middle class has seen dramatic increases in the cost of housing, education, and health care. Actual wages (adjusted for inflation) have remained stagnant.

If this Congress passes a monstrous bill and president Obama signs, it will be disastrous--not only for the Democratic party but for our country since millions of Americans will be without health care, the costs will not be contained, competition won't improve, and young people (18-29), who are now heavily pro-Dem, will be forced to buy into a bad and expensive system or fined if they don't. Why, do you see a problem with this? Yeah, the future's so bright I got to wear shades..

Oh, wait, there's some good news from this! You can make lots of money by buying insurance stock! Have your noticed that their value has been going up since we got news of this great bill negotiated by our leaders?!!

UPDATE: I like Paul Krugman. He's an unabashed liberal and I usually agree with him. But, this economist and Nobel laureate makes the case for passing the rumored health care bill. I may not agree with him, but here's his piece:

"A message to progressives: By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy. Declare that you’re disappointed in and/or disgusted with President Obama. Demand a change in Senate rules that, combined with the Republican strategy of total obstructionism, are in the process of making America ungovernable.

But meanwhile, pass the health care bill.


At its core, the bill would do two things. First, it would prohibit discrimination by insurance companies on the basis of medical condition or history: Americans could no longer be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, or have their insurance canceled when they get sick. Second, the bill would provide substantial financial aid to those who don’t get insurance through their employers, as well as tax breaks for small employers that do provide insurance.

All of this would be paid for in large part with the first serious effort ever to rein in rising health care costs."

There's a split among the progressives on what to do with the bill the Senate wants to pass. Some, like Krugman, say pass it now and amend it later. Others, like Howard Dean, say no!

On more thing. When will the Dems obtain such big majorities in both chambers of Congress plus the White House? Just wondering... I mean, if they can't pass meaningful reforms now, when will they? They'll be blamed for the financial troubles next year, especially if the unemployment figures don't improve. This is a great chance in a long while to pass good reforms that will benefit most of the people for generations to come. There were the same reactions and vapid opposition to new progressive programs like Social Security, Medicare, consumer protection, civil rights acts, and even electrification. This new president and Congressional Dems must rise to the occasion and do what's best for the country, now and in the future.


anne said...

excellent summary of what going on...

Anonymous said...

The deficits are another issue... and I think most people have seen lots of money given to Wall Street but the economic benefits aren't seen by the rest of us

George said...

I think lots of the stimulus money went to "shovel-ready" projects that may have made some impact on the jobs & economy, but I don't know how much.

Much of the infrastructure around here--metro NY--is crumbling. But, I also see big projects in Westchester where RT 9 is being repaved when it didn't need to. Oh, an by the way, they're just back to redoing sections that I thought had finished just a few weeks ago!

You know, impressions matter. Many people may see this as a waste of money. Perhaps some of the stimulus money will help restore the falling bridges we all use.

George said...

I'm going to post Krugman's opinion even though I have my disagreements with him on this.

For example, the insurance companies may not reject/deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, but the question is what the price for this?
If the cost is very high and unaffordable what do you do? Oh, I see, shovel public money to for-profit insurance companies.

Anyway, I think the principle of universal, affordable health care should be re-affirmed.

j said...

liked the video! :)

Plutarch said...

I'm with Keith Olbernman on this.