Health Care Reform: Who do you believe?   6 comments

As I follow the news coverage (from a variety of sources…both conservative and liberal), political speeches, talk radio and various blogs, I find that wading through all the various claims and counter claims can be daunting.  It’s almost as though the truth for many of us depends on who we want to believe.  Those on the conservative side of the spectrum tend to believe all the information which denounces “the bill” (even though it is difficult to figure out which bill they are referring to as there are up to five documents being worked on).  While liberals tend to believe what the President and his advisors are touting. 

I hear statements like “everyone agrees that the present health care system is broken” or “Health care insurance premiums are going to continue to grow at the present rate into the forseeable future” (the statistic I heard was that health care premiums have increased by twice the rate of inflation over the last ten years).  These statements, as far as I can tell, have not been contested.  It does seem that everyone agrees that health care needs to be fixed.  The debate seems to be how to fix it.

My observations:  1.  It seems that those who stand to lose the most are those who tend to oppose health care reform while those who stand to gain tend to support reform.  That shouldn’t be too surprising.  Who stands to lose the most?  It is my impression that the health care insurance industry stands to lose the most of any other single special interest group.  This special interest group is quite powerful.    The health care insurance industry donates a great deal of money to politicians, both to republicans and to democrats, for their campaign races.  What I have seen is that they donate more to republicans than to democrats.  That shouldn’t be too surprising as the GOP has been sterotyped to favor big business, while the democratic party has been sterotyped to favor labor.  Who stands to gain the most?   Labor stands to gain considerably.  Most labor support is from the middle class.  It is my impression that the largest group that stands to gain is the middle class…whether they are a part of a labor union or not.  However, as we have seen as a result of the financial crisis, we as a nation, depend heavily on  a strong middle class to drive the economy.  It may have been big business in the financial markets with their questionable, if not illegal, practices that brought the economy down, it is the middle class with disposable income that we are counting on to bring it back.  It would seem to me then, that policies that facilitate the growth of a strong middle class would not only benefit the middle class, but everyone as we share the same national economy.  2.  We need balance.  There needs to be a balance between our pride of individualism and the need for community.  There needs to be balance between big business and labor.  Question is: Where is that balance and how is it created?

As we work together as “one nation under God” we need to put aside motive words and phrases.  We need to quit vilanizing or demonizing those with whom we don’t agree.  Everyone needs to come to the table in good faith, to not only voice our concerns and views, but also to listen.   Listening is the most difficult part of comminication…just ask any married couple 🙂   Why would anyone of a particular opinion use motive words or phrases or demonize the other side of the issue?  The only reason I can think of would be to defeat or pass any bill for health care reform regardless of its content.  It certainly would not be to bring all parties to the table to discuss in a civil manner the various aspects of an issue in order to bring about concensus.  It seems that sensationalism, exageration and hype tend to sell in the airways.

I encourage everyone to get informed and get involved.  If we truely want a democratic system that works, we must not stand by and allow others to decide important issues for us.  I must admit that I am biased.  I feel very strongly that health care reform is not only preferable, but it is essential as it directly impacts every aspect of our lives.  But if you don’t agree with me, I still encourage you to get informed and involved.  We need the perspective of everyone in order to make the best decisions.  However, as we engage in dialogue, may we remain civil and respectful of one another.  May we discuss specifics and if appropriate offer ideas and solutions rather than dismissing any reform out of hand.  If the proposals are not satisfactory in your mind, offer alternatives…unless, of course, you simply don’t want reform at all.

I realize that there are some who oppose health care reform in any form.  There may be a variety of reasons for this.  They may have an ideological postition that government should not be involved in any way.   They may feel that government would abuse the authority and power that it is given.  Some don’t want government in their lives in any way or form.  Others may not want reform of any kind as it may mean that they will lose the power that they have.   They want the status quo for their benefit at the expense of the majority.  These are the groups and individuals that use words like socialism, communism, death panels and other motive words that are intended to raise fear and mistrust.   If no reform is your position, then be honest about it and come right out and say it…don’t beat around the bush trashing the efforts of those who are working hard to improve the system.

As far as I can tell the phrase “death panels” was derived from a section in one of the proposals that would authorize payment to physicians for their time in discussing with their patients end of life issues.  These issues would include a DNR (do not recussitate) order, living will, advance directive, and other such concerns.  These issues would be discussed with the physician, the patient and the family just as they are now under our current health care system.  If this were to be incorporated into a health care bill the only thing it would do would be to authorize payment for the physicians time.  The decisions made would still be up to the patient and/or the family.

In reality we already have “socialized” medicine in the form of medicare, medicaid and the Veterans Administration.  These socialized forms of medicine have served far more individuals fairly and well than they have been mismanaged or abused.  We also have to remember that much of the abuse of these systems come from the private sector…those providers who fraudently bill for services not provided.  Why are we outraged with the government agency that does not have the manpower to police when it is the perpetrator who is breaking the law and costing us, the taxpayer, millions of dollars that we should focus our anger toward?  When we hear the word “sociaized” we become emotional and fearful.  We don’t really understand what the term means.  A “socialized” program is one that is government controlled and operated.  Our assumption is that it is the form of program that is found in a communist or totalitarian government system.  In those systems it would be best termed as “socialized communism” or “socialized totalitarianism”.  In our nation we could call it “socialized democracy”.  That would mean that it would be democratically monitored, not the same as in a communist or totalitarian system.   In a “socialized democracy” decisions would be made for the social good of all, arrived at in a democratic way.

We must remember too that greed, graft and corruption occurs in both the private and the public sector.  Where there is opportunity there is potential for greed to bring graft and/or corruption…in any system, public or private.  We all are aware of government graft and corruption.  However we don’t have to look too far back to realize that some of the biggest cases of corruption have occured in the private sector…just look at the financial industry. Would we rather big business (health care insurance companies) make our medical decisions for us over a government agency?  That is a legitimate question that we all need to ask ourselves.

I have probably rambled on long enough.  I invite your comments, thoughts, and ideas.  I know that some of you will take issue with what I have shared.  That is your right.  I just hope that you will be respectful and thoughtful in your response.  Thank you for visiting my blog.  God bless –

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Posted September 16, 2009 by terryflowersblog in Health Care

6 responses to “Health Care Reform: Who do you believe?

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  1. I thought it was very well put! Good Job expressing yourself 🙂
    I hope you sent this to everyone you know!

  2. A well rounded view as always. Facts are facts and so it seems it should be easy to know the truth…wish it were.

    Thanks for sharing Dad.

  3. Dad,

    Well written, reasoned, and put! Thank you!

  4. I saw a commercial that said that Wal-Mart is such a poor employer because they don’t offer health insurance for their employees and yet they make so much money as a corporation. Now the gov’t is asking tax payers to pay for health insurance that Wal-Mart should be providing. It’s funny (but I’m not laughing) that the people who made the commercial are also the people who don’t want a lot of regulations on corporations. They are talking out of both side of their mouths. Do they really think corporations are going to provide services to people that will cut their profits, when they don’t have to? It’s just more shaping of information for the sake of an ulterior motive.

  5. Terry, Very well put. It is easy to get fired up on one side and forget to listen to other. At least, I know I can get that way. Thanks!

  6. Margo,
    I’m not sure that you understand what the legislation is suppose to do. My understanding is that WalMart, and other businesses of a certain size, will be required to provide their employees health care options…even part-time employees (perhaps a pro-rated benefit). It’s really hard to know as there is no final bill yet…this is my impression of what President Obama has indicated that he wants to see in a bill.

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