Health Care wishlist

The holidays are over, our phony tree is stored away in the basement, and the kids are back to school. But like that spoiled kid who can't stop saying more, more, more.. I want more too, so here's my belated health care wish list:  

  • How about a Republican or two hopping aboard? There are still a few moderates remaining whose views reflect many citizens, and they could be supporting these bills. The proposed change in the system is not the radical change many critics would have you believe, but rather some incremental steps that essentially work within the current system--not replacing the private health care insurance industry, but adding some helpful splints and band-aids. Criticism like "This bill is 2000 pages's a crime to saddle the American people with this" is very lame.. Complex problems need some depth and detail to be solved. What's their suggestion, maybe a single page stating things like: "Let's do absolutely nothing about health care for all the years we are in power, while millions of hard-working Americans struggle with little or no insurance."
  • Howard Dean, how about backing off? The former presidential candidate has become the leading critic from the left, urging lawmakers to reject this bill and start over. His opinion is that the proposed plan does not go far enough, that the House and Senate have made too many concessions in their bills, such as the Senate not including a public option provision. I wish it were there too, but unfortunately sometimes politics is the art of compromise, and maybe if you knew that, the word former would not be included when we hear your name. The political reality is that even this somewhat scaled down law will pass (hopefully) only by the slimmest of margins, so it seems unlikely that a more "radical" plan would have a chance.
  • The biggest wish of all is that the House and Senate end up signing into law the proposed plan. They have passed similar bills in their respective chambers, so there is no good reason for this not to happen. All of the hot air and political wrangling aside, this is a bill that will address some fundamental health care problems. Perhaps the biggest being the abolition of pre-existing conditions, making it illegal for insurance companies to turn away people with existing health problems. The Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, has estimated that 22,000 people are left to die each year because they cannot afford medical care. Even though we have so many truly talented doctors and tremendous hospitals, some in our own backyard, we still rank at or near the bottom of all advanced countries in such important statistics as infant mortality rate and healthy life expectancy after 60. Doesn't that tell you something? It's literally a matter of life and death, on a grand scale. Instead of dividing over this issue, this can be a time for our country to pull together and lift us all.
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Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 3:58 PM, 01.14.2010