Health Care Legislation

October 21, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

The Congress is engaged in the Medicare payments to doctors as part of the broader aspect of the health care legislation. Despite the opposition’s insinuations against the government run successful Medicare program, it’s imperative for the lawmakers to sustain the viability of the Medicare and the Medicaid by honoring the providers’ legitimate request for payments increase that would substantially reduce the health care costs currently incurred by the taxpayers through payments to private insurers.

As stated earlier, the conservative and the moderate Democrats’ unwillingness to support the public option is contributing to the stalemate in the health care legislation. Even though, the recent Washington Post/ABC Poll confirmed that an impressive 57 percent of the American population is overwhelmingly in favor of the ‘public option’ plan, some Democratic legislators’ reluctance to join the majority on this issue is disappointing and deserve a valid explanation for their position that is detrimental to the national interest.

It’s important for the Democrats opposing the public option to realize that, any skepticism on the viable proposal is a rejection of the long established Medicare with a proven record of reducing the health care costs while simultaneously providing coverage for a significant population, a core objective of the historic health care legislation. The ambiguity on the part of these legislators is justified if the status quo not draining the economy besides hurting the national future which is dependent upon the children, the youth and the baby boomers with inadequate coverage or none at all.

Whatever may be the reasons for the Democrats resting on the fence, the health matter is a test of the human character to expend the entrusted power for the public welfare against the political gains. The prolonged health care legislation is a strong indication to the American electorate to recognize and distinguish between the legislators’ actions or the lack thereof that should essentially prioritize the people over the special interest represented politics.

Accordingly, the 2010 mid-term election will determine the voter satisfaction or frustration in this regard. Those lawmakers in favor of the federal public option display commitment to serve the people electing them to power in a democracy.

The insurance industry has offered the yet another ‘less competitive’ alternative to the federal public option i.e. the state run program and that too only for those unable to afford the ‘insurance industry declared affordable’ payments. Not surprisingly, those in opposition to the ‘average’ American well-being embraced the idea as a brilliant reform when the states’ contemporary performance has been a dismal failure with California being the torchbearer in the dysfunctional event.

The citizens’ request for a public option is not a favor to them from the elected representatives in a democracy. On the contrary, it’s a constitutional duty of every elected official to work towards the national goals and safeguard the interests of every American representing the stars and stripes.

Again, democracy is subject to scrutiny during the legislative matters such as health care and the elected officials pledging to defend the public interest are expected to rise to the occasion by demonstrating their true service to the constituents and others nationwide.

In California, Senator Barbara Boxer believed to be on board with the democratic counterparts on the health care legislation enacting the federal run public option. However, Senator Dianne Feinstein is reportedly wavering on the ‘public option’ component of the bill. The long serving Senators from California are due for re-election in 2010 and the public opinion rely upon the voting records of their elected representatives to the House and the Senate.

Senator Boxer is presently leading the ‘climate change’ bill and the California Senator’s unequivocal approval of the public option enhances the legislative achievements for the feisty representative.

Since the concerned health care advocates do not have the absolute assurance from Senator Dianne Feinstein on the ‘public option’ component of the bill, it’s a sincere hope that Senator Feinstein will not hesitate to be remembered as a key reformer in the historic health care legislation.

The national deficit is the contentious issue for the Republican legislators against any progress. Although, they may have the best intentions in their opposition to the government run public option, it’s rather intriguing to view the self-deprecating legislators from across the aisle in their criticism of the public institution employing them to deliver the service for the greater good of all.

Apparently, these lawmakers have no issues with the guaranteed income, health care benefits and opportunities to compromise ethics for economics with the special interests in Washington. Ironically, the ‘so-called’ fiscal conservatives are also in the frontline pushing for the economically and strategically disastrous troops increase in Afghanistan. All carried out for the sake of ‘political’ opposition.

Indeed, politics is complex and the simple solutions are often ignored in the embattled power struggle.

Health care legislation is a serious matter imploring due diligence, rationale and fortitude for the desired outcome to benefit the present and the future generation. It’s possible only with the federal run public option with an inevitable costs trimming and coverage expansion, the essence of the health care reform.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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