Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: Health care legislation making me sick
- 2013 - 961 articles
- 2012 - 1954 articles
- 2011 - 2029 articles
- 2010 - 2139 articles
- 2009 - 2066 articles
- December 2009 - 163 articles
- December 31st, 2009 (Thursday) - 30 articles
- December 29th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 2 articles
- December 24th, 2009 (Thursday) - 26 articles
- December 23rd, 2009 (Wednesday) - 1 articles
- December 22nd, 2009 (Tuesday) - 3 articles
- December 17th, 2009 (Thursday) - 27 articles
- December 15th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- December 13th, 2009 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- December 11th, 2009 (Friday) - 35 articles
- December 9th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 1 articles
- December 8th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- December 7th, 2009 (Monday) - 1 articles
- December 6th, 2009 (Sunday) - 2 articles
- December 5th, 2009 (Saturday) - 1 articles
- December 3rd, 2009 (Thursday) - 29 articles
- December 1st, 2009 (Tuesday) - 2 articles
- November 2009 - 166 articles
- October 2009 - 231 articles
- September 2009 - 161 articles
- August 2009 - 136 articles
- July 2009 - 153 articles
- June 2009 - 126 articles
- May 2009 - 164 articles
- April 2009 - 242 articles
- March 2009 - 204 articles
- February 2009 - 163 articles
- January 2009 - 157 articles
- 2008 - 1757 articles
|Health care legislation making me sick|
I am going to apologize right up front. I did not want to add my voice to the cackling chorus of counter reformers on the issue of health care. But, health care reform seems to be what is on many people's minds and so I figured I would just dive into the deep end of this complex debate.
First, the process that got us to where we are stinks. Partisan bickering and wrangling coupled with dreadful deal-making have yielded two bills that offered no signs of Democrats reaching out to Republicans (or Independents) and showing little but scorn and contempt for most Americans.
With the lone exception of Congressman Ahn "Joseph" Cao (New Orleans), no other Republican supported the House version of the health care reform bill. The final vote was 220-215, or just 2 votes more than the 218 needed to pass in the House. Speaker of the House Pelosi appeared jubilant after scoring this victory, but from a historical perspective this marked a major departure from past legislation during a President's first year in office where all have reached across the aisle to garner support.
Following the passage in the House, Representative George Miller, Democrat of California and one of the chief architects of the bill, proclaimed, "This is our moment to revolutionize health care in this country." By revolutionize, he meant to nationalize and socialize…you know…national-socialism.
On the Senate side, the matter was even worse. There, Democrats voted purely along party lines and advanced this health care reform movement to another level. With both houses of Congress having passed bills (albeit somewhat different ones), President Obama could now claim a major legislative success during his first year in office. In effect, Obama was able to do what 75 years of past Presidents had not: a legislative platform to construct a universal health care platform.
But, at what price? Sure, Democrats like Landrieu (LA), Lincoln (AR) and Nelson (NE) along with Independent Lieberman (CN) were wooed by some last minute goodies. Still, you have to wonder what price these Senators will pay for their votes. For Landrieu, she has another 5 years before facing the wrath of Louisiana voters. Lincoln could see herself gone by this time next year. Nelson has already been chastised by his Governor. Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could face backlash from Nevada voters next fall.
So, what was the hurry? Why did all of this have to be done in the wee hours of night and before the end of the year? There is an actual answer to this. Most Presidents, regardless of their popularity, see losses in both chambers of Congress during the mid-term elections. So, imagine if the House had 15 fewer Democrats and the Senate lost only 3. Then, none of the health care reform legislation would have been passed. But, as long as Democrats have even a 1 vote majority in the House and 60 votes that are rock solid in the Senate, then they literally can pass anything they want and there is little that can be done.
Clearly some of you are wondering about having more public protests or town halls, but ask yourself: did overwhelming opposition from Louisiana's voters alter Senator Landrieu's vote? And, what about Senator Lincoln? Or Nelson?
Now, before you even turn on your computer to send me more hate e-mail, I want to make sure you understand. I do not object to health care reform. There can be no doubt that all Americans should have access to health care. What I object to is that using private sector incentives did not seem to factor into this process by the Democrats.
Where did tort reform get serious consideration? What about allowing people to buy insurance across state lines to reduce costs? It works for car insurance. How can we even consider putting caps on the profits of insurance companies? Is there federal government going to also guarantee a specific floor for any losses? In other words, if there is a cap of, say, 15 percent on insurance company profits, then in the bad years will the government step in and make sure that a company cannot lose more than, say, 5 percent? If you'd like, send me an email describing a business sector where government caps have resulted in better service and a more efficiently managed company. This sounds like a future Fannie-Mae and Freddie Mac to me.
If this makes so much sense for the health care sector, why not apply this same logic to other markets where only 95 percent of Americans are covered. How about a government option for cell-phone coverage? After all, there are some Americans that cannot afford a cell-phone or live in an area that does not have coverage (a type of preexisting condition). Should the government cap AT&T's profits and use the 'excess monies' to subsidize those without a cell-phone? Is it 'fair' that so many people have expensive cell-phone plans when less than 3 percent of Americans would not be able to have a cell-phone because of a lack of coverage?
Currently, the government requires everyone that drives an automobile to have insurance. Does that mean that everyone on the road has coverage? Of course not! So, those of us with premiums contribute a portion of our dollars for uninsured motorists.
All this partisanship at the expense of our fundamental principles of government is making me sick.
John W. Sutherlin, PhD, is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He also is co-director at the ULM Social Science Research Lab. He can be reached by e-mailing Sutherlin@ulm.edu.