Ask Your Dr. If Health Care Reform Is Right For You

The House passed a health care reform bill that is some 2,000 odd pages long.  I have to confess that I have not read it all…ok, any of it.  But NO  legislator should make the same confession.  That’s malfeasance in my judgment.  Our federally elected officials are compensated well financially to represent us so the least they can do is stay on top of the leading domestic issue of the day.  Read the bill.  Stay engaged.  Consider this elected officials: you have a generous health care package paid for by your constituents, while many you represent have no health care at all.  Don’t forget that!

Fortunately, the House bill provides a public option, which is absolutely necessary for driving down the cost of insurance by injecting competition into the system.  Why aren’t antitrust laws being enforced?  And I hope the Senate passes a bill that includes a public option too,  but reactionaries (a/k/a the lunatic fringe) are up in arms about it and have launched a full-scale propaganda campaign comparing health care reforms to death camps under Nazi Germany, comparisons so vile that they could only come from deeply rooted feelings of hatred and racism.

And what’s all this about abortion coverage restrictions?  What happened to reproductive rights in this country?  Are we going to sit back and let Bart Simpson, I mean, Bart Stupak, a Democrat, yes a Democrat from Michigan, overturn Roe v. Wade, something even the right tilting Supreme Court has not attempted?  The Senate may include similar provisions making it difficult if not impossible for women to obtain coverage for an abortion procedure, coverage they may now have through private or employee sponsored plans, if those plans participate in the government created exchange, regardless of whether federal funding actually goes to the patient.

Assuming the Senate passes a bill, I think “pro-lifers” and public option supporters will butt heads.  But I would hate to see health care reform hijacked by the abortion debate, which happens to be the special interest of a radical few and doesn’t belong in the health care reform debate. A likely outcome of the bill reconciliation process would be softened language on abortion restrictions and a watered down public option.  In the end, maybe half of the 40 million are so without medical insurance will be able to buy into some kind of health plan to ensure basic needs coverage.

Health care reform is about two things and two things only:  1) a cheaper and more effective delivery system and 2) insuring the millions who are currently uninsured.

Here’s what I would like to see in a bill:

  • No restrictions on abortion procedures.  Women have a right in this country to reproductive freedom.   The issue doesn’t even belong in the debate.
  • A public option to guarantee competition.
  • Anything to promote wellness among patients – exercise, preventative care, good nutrition for example.
  • Incentives for hospitals to “clean up their act” to reduce infection rates.
  • Something to stop the drug companies from advertising on TV.  I’m sick of the
    “ask your doctor if ____________ is right for you”.  Hey, I trust that my doctor knows what’s right for me…but pharmaceutical companies please stop giving out freebies to doctors to promote your drugs.  Just make the drugs and sell them at a reasonable price already.
  • Tort reform to prevent frivolous lawsuits against physicians.  I don’t want a future generation of talent to shrink away from the medical profession for fear of being sued and the reality of paying high liability insurance premiums.  The high cost of med school resulting in years of student loan payments deters too many as it is.