#165 – Dick Bernard: the End Game for Health Care Reform

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Over night came some poll numbers, purportedly from CNN, which show that 25% of Americans are in favor of the current Health Care Reform proposal; 73% apparently want it scrapped, and Congress to start over.
To the 73%: there could be nothing more ill-advised, or against your long-term interests, than for Congress to follow your own advice.
Over the past year I have followed the Health Care Reform issue about as carefully as it is possible for a “civilian” to do. I have written a lot about various aspects of the issue at this space (they are all gathered in the Health category accessible at right, beginning July 24, 2009). There are a great number of posts. This is an issue in which I have a deep and very personal interest (I have been on Medicare for a number of years).
Coming from a long career of representing (including negotiating for) people, I can fairly say that I know more than a little bit about short-sightedness, threats, fear and all of the negative aspects of any negotiation. People can be easily convinced to sell themselves out, and to attack the very people who are advocating for their long-term best interests.
This particular Health Care Reform negotiation, of perhaps the most complex topic imaginable for over 300,000,000 people, is well suited to fear-mongering, lying, misrepresentation, and on and on and on. I would guess that those in Congress (including many Republicans who dare not say so) know that deep reform of our Health Care and Insurance delivery system is essential, but are terrified of the consequences of voting for any version of it. It is too useful as a potent political ‘divide and conquer’ issue.
I hope and pray that the “American people” do NOT get what they apparently richly deserve, which is nothing. There will be no starting over, except for pitiful tinkering. The train will continue on the track to health care disaster for ever increasing numbers of us.
Of course, I have no idea why the 73% polled by CNN yesterday want to scrap the bill and start over.
I would guess that 73% includes a large percentage who don’t think the proposal goes far enough; and lots more who think it goes too far.

Then, there are lots and lots of people on Medicare and Social Security who, back when they were young, would have voted against both Medicare and Social Security (“socialist” programs, you know), but now are terrified that these “socialist” programs they have become accustomed to (and depend on) might be changed in some disadvantageous way to them. (As that woman railing against socialist medicine so famously said last summer: “don’t touch my Medicare“.)
There are some who believe that reform will unleash a swarm of baby-killers, killing fetuses with abandon. A lie, but a saleable one. And many, all of whom should know better, believe the “death panel” mythology that has been trumpeted loudly (and quietly) along the way.
And some who think it’s no problem: they’re young, healthy, have good benefits at work.
Meanwhile, life goes on its merry, uncertain way.
Tuesday – two days ago – was the last day at work for my 45 year old son-in-law. Laid off from his corporate job. Single parent. Ten year old son.
I asked his Mom, my spouse, what he’d be doing for medical insurance. She’s not sure. He’s probably okay for a month or two or three, but unless he gets very, very lucky, he and his son will soon be joining the ranks of the tens of millions of uninsured in this country. He can only hope he doesn’t get sick.
Bottom line for me: the people who vote against Health Care Reform, even the inadequate bill that will ultimately be voted on, deserve to never serve in Congress again.