Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Forgive me for being skeptical

I spent most of the day yesterday, thinking of frivolous things and posting photos of Alpine skiers, avoiding the sinking sensation in my gut and avoiding media.

Avoiding thinking about the health care bill that apparently won by a narrow margin.

On one hand, I am ecstatic: elated that it passed at all, that the Republicans were defeated despite all their negative hype and fear-mongering.

I am trying to be optimistic that this is just one step...

But, mostly I am disappointed: saddened and dumbstruck that so many Americans are against health care, irked that not even one cowardly Republican voted for the bill, and dismayed that President Obama and the House Democrat leaders had to beg and pander and finagle enough votes even among Democrats.

Watching the local evening news last night, I saw a clip on what the health care bill might mean for me: more difficulty getting in to see the doctor; "a tsunami of new patients" rushing to get treatment; shorter visits with the doctor.

Is that what they call unbiased reporting?

What will the health care bill mean for someone who has never had health insurance? What will it mean for someone who hasn't been able to afford a doctor visit for years? What will it mean for me, with a pre-existing condition that would render me uninsurable if I were ever to fall, even briefly, among the uninsured?

My deepest disappointment, however, lies in the bill itself. I won't lie and say that I have read the details or the fine print. I have a vague understanding of the main ideas. I threw in the towel months ago with the first round of health care debates where I wrote this. I also wrote to my House Representative. I also wrote to President Obama. So, don't get me wrong, I take this issue seriously, personally.

Call me what you will, commie, socialist, it doesn't matter. I firmly believe that nothing short of a single-payer health care system will make any difference and anything short of a single-payer system is a slap in the face. The public option, long-ago taken off the table, would have been at least a miserable compromise, but we don't even have that, as I understand it.

If the bill truly reigns in health insurance companies and reforms the way they do business; if they truly lower costs, if they really do away with pre-existing conditions clauses, a tiny bit of justice will be served.

But please forgive me for being skeptical...

What most outrages me is that the bill requires uninsured citizens to buy health insurance... from health insurance companies. Do you know who is uninsured? These are the people who most likely earn low wages, whose employers do not offer health benefits, people who cannot afford health insurance or, in many cases, even a trip to the doctor's office. If these people do not buy health insurance they will be fined.

How is this a fair bill? They say they will make these policies affordable. Really? Just how affordable is affordable when you make $7.50 an hour? $9.50 an hour? $12.00 an hour? What will these policies look like? How much coverage will they really offer?

Forgive me for being skeptical...

Can you guess who is going to make a killing? The insurance companies. Any plan that keeps them in the game means the American people lose. Mark my words the insurance industry will find a way to rake in billions with all of their new customers. They will find a way of carrying on with business as usual, or even taking it up a notch. They don't spend billions in Washington for nothing.

I understand the political necessity of taking a first step. I understand there was no other way to get a bill passed and that hell or high water a bill had to be passed. But, honestly, I don't know if I can call this a victory.

My prediction: in less than 10 years' time, we will be discussing health care reform again. When that time comes, I hope our country has the guts or the balls or the common human decency, finally, to really make a meaningful difference.

But forgive me for being skeptical...


mosey said...

Look at brave you, opening yourself up to the naysayers again.

While I was in China, I caught the news where I could and admit I alternated being feeling hopeful and optimistic and depressed that we're just not there yet with healthcare. Sure, we can take the half glass full route and say this is just a first step but there is so much division about it both within government and the people, I just don't see how we're going to advance this step forward without some serious fights.

Sigh. I'm skeptical too, but trying to hold on to a glimmer of hope that we're going in the right direction.

Phil said...

I'm just happy that something passed at all. I know it's nowhere near what it needs to me, but part of me thinks that just getting past the immobile hump might create some inertia to get things moving. Still, this country makes me so sad sometimes. Sigh, indeed.

Marmo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marmo said...

I´ve just read this in other blog:

"Dear republicans,

You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

You didn't get mad when the Pentagon misplaced $2.3 trillion.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn't get mad when you saw the abu ghraib photos.

You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn't get mad when we let a major US city drown.

You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You didn't get mad when the debt went up $5 trillion under Bush.

You finally got mad when.. when... wait for it... when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all ok with you but helping other Americans... well f**k that."

Danielle said...

Everything is so corrupt! I don't even know what to say. You are brave. And thanks for sharing your views.

Maggie May said...

It's all so confusing to me. I hear one point and think AHA and then read another and think hmph?

Anonymous said...

Like you said, I haven't read the bill in its entirety. How it's going to be carried out is still a mystery, and I defintiely fear that people are going to take advantage of the uninsured.

That said, it's a baby step. It's the government coming back and for the first time in YEARS paying attention to the situation here in our country instead of concentrating on every other.

My absolute favorite is the multitude of people "threatening" to move to Canada after this latest event.

Um, you do realize that they HAVE universal healthcare, right?

@Marmo- Love it. Thank you.

Phoenix said...


Very brave of you, Annje, I won't even touch politics on my blog. I got slammed on Facebook for deigning to disagree with people and I'm a bit jaded at the moment.

I think the health care bill is what I can liken to a band-aid - this country is bleeding and dying and while it won't fix everything, it might stop the bleeding and hold it back for a bit. I have heard so many sad, sad stories of people who are getting screwed over from not having any health care and winding up in the emergency room - with a $45,000 bill afterward.

I got a lot of good info here:


from a newspaper that (shockingly) is actually known for their fair and balanced reporting. It looks like some of the health care industries would be heavily taxed to help subsidize those who can't afford health care coverage, which might answer one of your questions.

Take a look-see and lemme know what you think.

Kyle said...

I knew I liked you.