Health Care Bill – Senate Finance Committee and the Republican Vote

October 15, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

The decision by the Maine Senator, Olympia Snowe to get on board in the health care reform is a welcome change and provides hope for the bipartisanship even with a singular vote now.

It would have been a cause for celebration if the bill did not marginalize the purpose of this health care reform i.e. the public option that is no longer an option but a necessity for millions of people and small businesses worst hit in the national crisis.

The misplaced objective of this bill from the start has been to impress the ‘so-called’ fiscal conservatives squandering the national wealth on warfare resulting in massive casualties while being miserly on matter related to saving life.

Since the opposition maintains the tradition to oppose anything offered by the democrats, it is no surprise to view the conservative support to the health insurance industry dedicated to sabotage the health care reform by any means.

The onus is entirely on the Democratic majority specifically elected to deliver the long overdue ‘change’ urgently needed to improve the life of all Americans.

With the mid-term elections around the corner, the voter frustration is enormous and cannot possibly prolong if the representatives in a democracy do not meet the essential voter requirements in health care and other issues. To be more specific, the health care bill from the Senate will be meaningless without a ‘public option.’

National deficit is a major concern for citizens with basic economic sense, despite the issue being hailed as the ‘conservative’ and ‘moderate’ economic prudence from both sides of the aisle. The neglected element in this context is the reverse motion by the centrists and the conservatives that is predominantly driving the costs faster than a bullet train.

The identifiable costs are the unaffordable insurance premiums, unnecessary diagnostic procedures to avoid malpractice litigations, unhealthy lifestyle by a large segment of the population and uncontrolled administrative expenditure ultimately passed on to the consumers across the economic spectrum.

The costs factor cleverly evaded through pointed accusations against the ‘government’ intervention and the people, the victims in the sensitive life and death matter.

Even if the current Senate Finance Committee bill supposedly addresses all of the problems contributing to the status quo, the average and the gainfully employed citizens still faced with a challenge due to the mandatory insurance purchase that demands a massive search for the most competitive provider available only during the novelty period. Once the storm settles, it’s guaranteed to be ‘business as usual.’

Therefore, it’s absolutely important for the democratic lawmakers being the majority to ensure that the public option is included in both the House and the Senate bill.

The Senate Finance Committee bill currently accepted as a huge achievement in the absence of the ‘public option.’ Although, the legislature in itself is a cornerstone compared to the health care reform demolition during the Clinton presidency, the legislation passed merely to satisfy the haphazard objective without taking into account the plight of the citizens.’

In terms of the malpractice litigations, the truth lies somewhere in between with the victims being the providers and the public. The misdiagnosis or negligence during the surgical procedures does exist in the twenty first century in spite of the state of the art technology and medical training in the United States. The competent and self-assured professionals need not be overly concerned as the incidents are prevalent among those lacking in this regard.

For instance, not long ago the mastectomy performed on the twenty three year old patient in error resulting from the misreading /swapping of the patients’ record. On a personal account in California, a surgical metal object left behind during the foot surgery causing excruciating pain for a prolonged eighteen months, eventually spotted by a different provider via x-ray and removed through another surgery.

On the other hand, some public members view such experience as an opportunity for financial gains and pursue unmitigated lawsuits forcing the providers to rely upon the expensive malpractice insurance as a safety net. The health care reform cannot play much role in this particular issue.

Instead, the conspicuously flawed legal system requires a major overhauling in the social justice matters and hence taken advantage of by the favored party in the general framework. The justice system should focus less on the economics and more on ethics and morality.

Nevertheless, there is a cost concern in this avoidable dispute leading to the premium hikes, and health care fees inevitably borne by the mainstream public.

Any behind the scenes effort by the legislators under the special interests influence, to derail the health care legislation entirely or partially without a public option would be a political suicide for them given the public expectations based on their daily harrowing experience in the present profit oriented system.

The health care reform is a political gamble for both parties in the coming 2010 elections. With the Republican lawmakers, pledging abstinence over action on the life matter will further reduce their representations in both Houses of the Congress. Similarly, the Democrats as a majority have not demonstrated unity within or delivered the desired results in the health care legislation.

Such fiasco is detrimental to both parties with the public anger and frustration building up to the point of no return.

There is enormous responsibility on the Senate majority leader Harry Reid to comply with the public concern rather than attempting to appease the unwinnable votes in the senate.

After all, at the end of the day even if the ‘special interests’ fund the political campaigns, the ballots determine the power for the candidate and the party.

Perhaps, the lobbyists could convince their representatives in Congress that they have the means to drive political campaigns to support the partisan agenda and encourage the lawmakers to remain loyal to them and not the public. Undoubtedly, the strategy was a huge success up until the recent past, but not anymore as the economic woes created by the same lobbyists’ politics emboldened the mass to hold the elected officials accountable for their actions or the lack there of in all matter.

Demanding accountability and transparency from the authorities with power in the government, corporations and the military are the only effective instruments at the public disposal to bring about the desired change in their life.

Collective public voice and action desperately required to attain the desirable goals in the respective economic, social, political and environmental cause.

Finally, the end-result in the health care reform cannot deprive the suffering millions of population from salvation through the government run public option. No possible explanations from the Senate or the House could justify the inability to incorporate the only effective reform tool, the public option for the health care legislation to qualify as historic or a monumental feat.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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