With Liberty and Health Care for All

28 Dec

Even with President Obama’s recent efforts to work with the Senate to make some significant headway in the latest saga that is Health Care Reform before the holidays, it seems that there are those legislators that are just intent upon unraveling any real progress made toward a comprehensive health plan that would benefit the millions of uninsured and under-insured citizens in this nation.

The Republican Senator from Kentucky and Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell indirectly implied to Jake Tapper on ABC’s This Week’s Sunday broadcast that Republicans preparing to campaign for office in the coming year would be making preparations to undo the current health care legislation, should it become law. When asked specifically about seeking a health care repeal, McConnell sidestepped the question, only saying that health care reform would be a major issue in 2010.

By taking this vague approach and tossing out innuendoes as opposed to a concrete stance, what is it really that McConnell is trying to say or wants his constituency to believe about his position on Health Care?  Now don’t get me wrong, it is painstakingly obvious to just about anyone who’s been following the daily reports, jargon, disputes and developments related to health care reform over the past year that the debates (for the most part) run down party lines and center specifically on whether Americans have a fundamental right to health care and if the government should foot the bill and administer it or not.  So, if as a Republican McConnell is opposed to the requirement of Universal Health Care, or a public option overseen by the government (because it would infringe on the freedoms of Americans to facilitate their own health care options), then why not say so? Why the cautious and guarded wordplay in the media?

I think that a lot of the eggshell walking (on both sides of the partisan line) has to do with the fact that although one group’s one-sided survey might indicate that the American people are overwhelming opposed to the efforts to have the government take over their health care, and another poll might reveal that the majority of Americans believe that only a national public option can grant billions in subsidies to assist uninsured Americans in purchasing insurance, force insurance companies to cooperate with the insured, eliminate the use of pre-existing conditions as a way to deny coverage and ultimately reduce costs, the sad reality remains that far too many Americans simply cannot afford to be ill because health care is just not a realistic and affordable option for them. 

Both sides of the spectrum argue regularly over the costs associated with health care reform (Republicans believe that government spending on healthcare will significantly increase national spending and the national debt while Democrats contend that the direct and indirect cost to taxpayers will continue to rise when uninsured Americans fall ill and seek medical attention they cannot pay for), but I believe the argument ought to focus on how to make this nation’s health care services competitive among the world’s other developed countries. 

To me, it is pretty sad that with all the advances in economics, weaponry, medicine and science, The United States consistently ranks last amongst the G6 nations and other industrialized countries having universal coverage on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and outcomes in health care.  While the U.S. does have better access to advanced medical treatments and technologies and shorter waiting times for specialists treatment than most other countries, we still have a shorter life expectancy than all of the nations in the European Union.  It is also important to note that according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not ensure that all its citizens have health coverage.

So as this nation contends with the likes of North Korea and Iran for the battle over nuclear arms and continues its global war on terrorism, I hope that someone is keeping track of which lawmakers are working to ensure that the American people actually live to see the days of global peace and stability.  It is imperative that politicians forget partisanship and think of the people if a functional and effective health care system in this country is to be realized.

I’m Packing Up,

~Tiff

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