Friday, January 29, 2010

Health Care Reform

Have I posted about this before? I am not sure. Even if I have, it is certainly worth posting about and its certainly worth being my 300th post.

I am currently reading Hillary Rodham Clinton's autobiography. It is not that well written (I am sure a ghost writer wrote it, and they should have chosen someone else), but it is interesting. One of the things that is most interesting to me at the moment is her reflections on her attempts to reform health care in 1993/1994. It is de ja vu all over again, so to speak. The Clinton plan was similar to the Obama plan in that they wanted to create a minium ammt of coverage, standards for policies, and then within the confines of that standard, allow market competition. Like Obama's plan, it was designed to improve insurance and reduce costs for those currently insured, guarentee coverage of preexisting conditions and prevent people from losing insurance because they changed jobs. It was also designed to get more low income American's onto insurance plans.

Needless to say, they were unable to get it past. The resemblance in their efforts is striking - large interest groups working against them, putting misinformation into the media both via direct commercial and just quotable quotes. The Clinton's stopped trying to reform health care after 2 yrs of fighting for it because it had become an impossible mission given the environment created by the Republicans and special interest groups. She ends her discussion of it with this quote, which I find eerily relevant to the current situation - "Ultimately, we could never convince the vast majority of Americans who have health insurance that they wouldn't have to give up benefits and medical choices to help the minority of Americans without coverage. Nor could we persuade them that reform would protect them from losing insurance and would make their medical care more affordable in the future." I sincerely hope that this does not happen with the current attempts at reform. As President Obama said in his state of the Union last week, the budget office estimates the current health reform package will reduce the deficit. The current proposal get health care to a lot of Americans that do not have it. It will reduce the ability of insurance companies to make decisions about our lives, and reduce medical costs that have gotten ridiculously high. Unfortunately, these are not the messages that are getting across.

I don't even know how to end this blog post. Every day I encounter reasons that we need to reform health care. Every day I speak with claimants who are not receiving treatment or not taking needed medication because they cannot afford it. Some of these people are people who had a one-time lack of money alter their ability to work for the rest of their lives (for example, a man who broke his arm and received sub-standard care due to his lack of ability to pay and now has limited use of that arm). Some of these people are people who could be functioning members of society if they could afford the drug that keeps their brain chemistry balanced. Others are putting their lives at risk every day by not taking insulin because they do not have coverage.

Here is what I want. I want health care reform. I want people who are against health care reform to accept the moral implications that position holds, and stop pretending that there are no moral implications. I hope I get at least one of these wishes.

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