Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: Angry Americans have rights, too
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|Angry Americans have rights, too|
(Editor's Note: This column was first published the week of Aug. 18, 2009. It is timely in light of the attention the media has paid to the mood of the electorate in the run up to the Nov. 2 mid-term elections.)
As was expected, Congressman Rodney Alexander was not subjected to much browbeating at a town hall meeting he hosted last week in northeastern Louisiana to discuss health care reform.
It was surprising, though, that only 100 or so people showed up at Monroe City Hall to hear their congressman talk about the most important issue facing the United States in many years. One would think the people who reside in the 5th District of Louisiana in the U.S. House of Representatives would be interested in learning the details of earth-shattering changes to health care the Congress is expected to act on following the August recess.
I am reminded, though, that society, as a whole, seems to avoid a meaningful debate of an important issue, regardless if an issue could dramatically alter the manner in which we seek, obtain and pay for health care in America. That seems to be especially true if a meaningful debate would interfere with more important tasks at hand such as preparing for football and hunting seasons.
Be that as it may, it is unarguably obvious that something must be done about our health care system. Too many Americans do not have health care coverage for one reason or another. Actual health care costs are out of control, and the prices we pay for health care insurance are too high.
It's only going to get worse over time.
Meanwhile, we're told there exists a shortage of doctors across the country, who often charge sky-high rates for their services because they pay sky-high rates for medical malpractice insurance.
Because doctors often order unnecessary medical tests for patients to cover their hind sides in light of working in fear of plaintiff attorneys, who often file lawsuits if, heaven forbid, something should go wrong in the care of patients. It's called practicing defensive medicine.
Make no mistake, though, doctors make mistakes. They're human, though that should not be interpreted as a defense for doctors. After all, when a doctor makes a mistake, he or she should be held accountable.
However, America has evolved into a very litigious society. It seems too many people view an unfortunate event as a means to file a lawsuit to get rich quick, so to speak, in lieu of working hard to get ahead.
Who's to blame for that? I can't answer the question, but like everything else in life, it all begins at home, or what we were taught growing up.
Don't look to President Obama to lead the charge in reigning in the filing of frivolous lawsuits. He's an attorney, and he showed us long ago that he has no desire to offend a constituency that supported him in earnest during the 2008 election cycle. That constituency, of course, would be plaintiff attorneys, who have bankrolled Democrats for years with their generous campaign donations.
Don't look to Republicans either. The insurance lobby owns them, meaning the GOP's fundraising efforts through the years have benefited greatly from donations thanks to the insurance industry, including health insurance concerns.
In the meantime, it would appear the pharmaceutical lobby is walking in step with the Obama administration. How else can one explain the pledge pharmaceutical companies made to provide some $80 billion in savings in the health care reform arena over the next 10 years? How else can one explain as well the pledge pharmaceutical companies made to spend some $150 million on an advertising campaign to convince the American people they should embrace one of the health care reform bills the Congress will entertain in the coming weeks?
To surmise, the pharmaceutical companies sold out, or cut a deal with Obama and other liberal Democrats to salvage the lucrative gig they've enjoyed for years. You can bet the farm the pharmaceutical companies will be rewarded for buckling early on.
Yet, we should not expect to hear an open and honest discussion about the issues and/or concerns true health care reform should address. We won't because the opportunity to do so was lost long ago.
It was lost when a House committee advanced an unacceptable health care reform bill, a bill that failed to address the issues and/or concerns raised in this offering.
That's why health care reform got off track.
All of those so-called angry Americans who exercised their constitutional right to express themselves had nothing to do with it.