Health Care Brawl
The fighting and animosity over new health care legislation continued right through the passing of the historic law. At times it was almost as bad as the stadium parking lot after a Browns- Steelers game. Based on some of the criticism of the plan, you would think that the bill was written by Karl Marx himself..
But in fact, while this bill makes real, positive changes, it does so in a way that does not make huge changes to the status quo, for better or worse. Insurance companies are remaining private, they will not be taken over by the federal government, or forced to bid for customers in a government run plan. Malpractice reform and other cost saving measures were not addreessed in this law. Looking back at this battle it seems that the president concluded that he would attempt to get what he felt were the most important changes: affordable health care for all, with access to all.
Make no mistake, big money was behind much of the opposition to this bill, and as usual they tried to dupe others into believing this was some giveaway to the undeserving.
That is just not true - the majority of people that will be helped are lower income working people- the types people who in the past would have to choose between paying for health care insurance or other basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. Most disabled and non-working people are already covered under medicaid and other programs.
There is spririted debate about how much of a role government should take in people's lives. It's at the core of the differences between our political parties.
Legitimate disagreement exists between those who think government should do more to help support the cost of health insurance, and those who don't. The fact that people will now be required by law to carry health insurance is a civil liberties question that rankles some.
What seems less subject to debate is the role that government needed to play in changing the current laws that allow health insurance to be denied to people based on pre-existing health conditions, and on limiting the amount of catastrophic and long-term care.
Can we really believe that we could count on the 'market' to change the insurance companies for the better, to allow anyone who needs insurance the right to purchase it. No, they are money making enterprises, and even if one or more of the companies would have liked to open their doors to all, it could be very difficult from a competive business standpoint.
This is where government comes in, playing a vital role of outside arbitrator and creating the law that affects all the insurance companies.
It is worth noting that all of us have the potential to benefit by this change: if we get sick, lose our job, or change jobs and need to get new health insurance we will be able to do so without fear of being denied. An unfortunate concession to the insurance companies is that this part of the law will not take affect for most of us until 2014. Children will be covered sooner, that part of the law is currently being reviewed for some possible glitches.
They say that the best laws are laws where no one is happy. And perhaps that can be said about this law. It appears to have struck some middle ground - and while doing so appears poised to make a fundamental change for the better for all of us.