Health Care Bill – HR 3962 – Twenty First Century Milestone

November 7, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

Heartfelt Congratulations! To the American public, President Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House members for the successful passage of the long overdue Health Care reform.

The American citizens and the members of the Congress deserve the accolades for the hard work, determination and relentless campaign to reach the milestone in the twenty first century. After several months of grueling discussions, exhaustive debates, and personal experiences shared by millions of suffering Americans, the historic reform is materialized today.

Despite threats, ultimatums and partisan politics the achievement is indeed remarkable and praiseworthy. Now, it is dependent upon the Senate members to meet with the national expectations in completing the legislative requirement for President Obama’s signature.

Surely, it was the most contentious battle in the legislative affair and predictably emerged resilient against the anti-progress forces in Washington and Wall Street. There are other equally important issues confronting the nation and the health care legislation has paved the pathway for the ‘Cap and Trade Bill’ and many more to follow in the immediate future.

Again, the sick and the frail population’s voices heard in the Capitol Hill.

I hope that the regulations in terms of ‘pre-existing’ conditions, unaffordable premiums…will be effective immediately to allow the urgent caring and medical attention for the vulnerable members in the society.

Finally, America is on the road to recovery with the health care costs incrementally declining over a decade and simultaneously the approximate 36 million uninsured Americans guaranteed medical coverage that was declared a far-fetched dream by the opponents not long ago. The other factors in the bill will be dissected and critiqued accordingly.

Nevertheless, the dedication by the individuals across the nation contributed to the phenomenal success of the health care legislation.

Hope is turning into a reality and Change is inevitable with this new beginning.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Health Care Resolution – Clarification

August 17, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

Ever since the health care debate started, the main objective among the visible opponents has been to fictionalize the various contents of the bill. The health care bill principles – costs, quality and affordability extensively discussed per blogpost ‘Health Care Reform’ July 11, 2009 on this website.

Several testimonials by citizens from all walks of life through various mediums confirmed the urgency for health care reform. The partisan politics continues to disparage the millions of people deprived of proper health care during the public discourse.

A sensitive national matter turned into a controversial subject by the special interests’ agents. The health care bill described as voluminous, inadequate and far-fetched in reference to the government plan or public option. On the other hand, the noise amazingly disappeared with the White House statement on the possible elimination of the government plan from the competition.

Hence, the overview of the health care funding and the actual role of government plan in the health care legislation vital for true perspective.

How is the government health care funded?

The health care funded through three main categories –

First, by reducing wasteful spending and redundant costs prevalent in the ‘all private run’ system at the moment, a liability transferred on to the Corporations providing insurance, small businesses and individual insurance subscribers by the Health Insurance industry.

Trimmings guaranteed to generate the required savings to a tune of $300-$450 billion, the major portion of it stemming from out-of-court settlements in health care lawsuits, rising costs in malpractice insurance, neglecting preventive care, excessive intervention by the insurance companies with pre-authorization and final authorizations…contributing to a chaotic structure of the huge public system.

Next, streamlining the Health Care industry’s disproportionate costs across the wide spectrum of health care services to fund the program. It’s essential to emphasize that no one is against profit in either private run or hybrid systems. However, profit set to bankrupt the economy and the consumers in the form of businesses and individuals is equivalent to driving blindfolded on a one-way street with a dead end.

Unless and until the health care industry profit margin is reasonable, even the Health Insurance industry objectionable to the government involvement cannot sustain the escalating costs factored with exorbitant mark-ups by the health care complex.

The common problem for both private health insurance and the government plan is the costs incurred in the health care provision – health care professional fees, hospital admissions, treatment, drugs and ancillary services.

In order to keep up with the ever increasing health care industry costs, the health insurance competes with the counterpart by selling unaffordable insurance resulting in the estimated fifty million uninsured as well as cutting corners by denying adequate and quality coverage to the remaining dissatisfied insured population. Even though, the propaganda negates the fact claiming the satisfied insured population at 80%.

The health care and health insurance might appear to be in cohort when they really are at odds against each other in the excessive profit oriented scheme. There has been a rebuttal on this ‘profit’ issue by the health care spokespersons, some even resorting to name-callings as the line of defense.

An elaborate explanation was provided via Op-ed, Washington Post, July 2009-

How the reigning in on profit in a free market system would drive the economy to pitfalls.

What was not included in the explanation is the attempt to derive limitless profit at the expense of a vast majority in a sector that would naturally enable the expected returns given the volume based health industry. Similar to the energy sector surviving and thriving in any economy.

Another example for that matter, the world’s manufacturing warehouse, China ending in trade surplus with the rock bottom price due to worldwide mass production.

Regardless of the government plan, the health insurance industry cannot keep its promise to the changes required in the system without the cooperation from the health care industry. In a way, the government plan would ease the burden on the health insurance industry by negotiating with the health care industry via legislation. So, instead of viewing the government or the public option as an obstacle, the health insurance should envisage positive outcome from the hybrid system.

Third, tax increases on the taxpayers with extraordinary income configured in the earlier bill by the House of Congress to supplement health care funding is the prudent path to economic recovery that is excoriating the national revenue from other sectors. It could very well be a short-term pain evolving into long-term healing process.

The emotional outbursts with claims “I want to take my America back from Obama” revolves around the fear and commotion created by the veterans of smear tactics and the infamous ‘swift boat’ campaigners emerging during national elections, illegal wars and all things against national progress.

Ironically, the skepticism and cynicism about public option or a robust government plan for the benefit of the national economy and health in the near future overshadow the crisis in the present health care system.

One might call it a potent weapon by the opponents of the national interests suppressing the anomalies of the exclusive private run enterprise that is proven catastrophic to the overall economy and the general population.

Thus far, in all the town hall meetings organized to address the ‘legitimate’ concerns and queries from the victims of the present health care conglomerate watered down with the negatively charged combative remarks, cleverly pushing the pro-reform legislators on the defense.

Did the opponents gain from the anti-national movement?

Maybe for the time being but only soon to realize that such back alley ambush has its own ramifications that should not be underestimated.

As stated earlier, it’s about time the medical industrial complex and their representatives in the Senate and the House against the public option or the government plan get off the offense and provide believable answers to the simple yet direct questions:

The contentious issue in the health care legislation is the government plan or the public option.

Considering that, the contemporary health care system is exclusively private run with the exception of Medicare and Medicaid,

1. Why is the nation left behind with a staggering fifty million population uninsured, if the free market has enough competitors to lower the price?

The correct response: It’s because there is no real or a formidable challenger up to the task of dealing with the monopoly in the system and the non-profit cooperatives will be a fly that would be swatted down by the big players even before it begins to buzz around.

2. Why are the insured population forced to reach out to overseas health care facilities, under the apparently fabulous health care system certified by the ‘special interests rewarded’ representatives in the Senate and the House?

Quote – Wall Street Journal – Extensive 2008 editorial and articles – “South Asia, a popular destination for American patients awaiting transplants and various treatment care involving hospitalizations.”

Response: Health care industry’s phenomenal profit driven costs is triggering the health insurance industry to subsidize quality and appropriate treatment necessary but flatly denied to the ailing population. Further, the pre-authorization and final authorization protocols from the private health insurers applicable on healthy and pre-disposed health patients arising from the lack of trust by the insurance industry against the health care industry cause the exodus of the suffering population to foreign locations, not to mention the loss of income to the state and the national economy.

3. Why is the infant mortality and uninsured dependents in the lower income families, elderly care in terms of drug costs to name a few issues, so high under the ‘supposedly’ caring and affordable health care system?

Response: The health insurance and the health care industry policy designed for the healthy and the wealthy minority, rather than the underprivileged and the unfortunate majority.

4. The assertion that government plan dependent upon costs reduction from the health care industry only to be evaded by the health care providers held against the public option entry.

On similar assumption, What is the insurance industry proposal to alleviate the costs to make it affordable for all Americans?

Is the health insurance industry more influential over the health care providers?

In that case, what are they waiting for and why can’t they demonstrate their ability to improve the conditions now, i.e. (if they recognize that there is a systemic problem) to include all in the present system that would benefit the stagnant economy as well.

Alternatively, Does the health insurance possess a unique charm that would mesmerize the health care proponents to agree with the Insurance Industry demands?

One would assume that if it works for one, why it shouldn’t work for another.

Response: Both health care and health insurance industry common goal is to appease their shareholders with handsome returns and will stretch any limits with the consumer as the sacrificial lamb in the expansive, unmitigated health care arena.

5. The Congressmen and Women not in favor of public option, but probably supportive of non-profit cooperative system, is obligatory to their constituents and the entire nation to come forward in a town hall meeting or comparable setting,

To lay out their presumably efficient ‘free market’ operation predicted to create a utopian environment apart from setting precedence for other industrialized nations with hybrid health care systems.

Considering the unanimous consensus that the health care system due for modifications,

It would be fair and justified to call on the health care, the health insurance industry and their representatives in Congress responsible for the stalemate to present the facts and figures to the American consumers and taxpayers in their pledge to clean up the mess in the national health care.

In this context, the activism from the health care professionals seemingly frustrated with the insurance industry dictating terms and conditions in patient care disappointingly missing in action.

The other issue raised by the industry and their agents is – Why is the health care reform a priority and what is the need to rush on the issue?

Response: The economy and the plight of the suffering population speak volume in this regard. Failure to resuscitate the ailing heart would lead to fatality, evidenced in the victims’ real experiences.

In a nutshell, the nation has had enough with the shenanigans from the opponents of the national health care reform who have neither any treatment nor cure to the national epidemic called the health care that is aptly the health nightmare for the sane majority.

To reiterate, Health care is not a privilege or an entitlement but a necessity for survival.

Therefore, targeting higher profit against the market reality directly affecting the economy is not a smart business strategy, besides being beyond the realm of ethics and economics.

The proof of the pudding is in the status quo.

If the industries and their agents cannot resolve the matter effectively through cooperation, the obstinacy reflects the national decimation policy.

Finally, Health care reform is meaningless without government plan or public option.

Thank you.
Padmini Arhant

Verdict on the Health Care Legislation

July 30, 2009

By Padmini Arhant

The health care legislation vigorously contested by the opponents of the economic recovery and the unemployment deterrence. Sometimes, it’s easier to deal with the ‘devil’ you know than the ‘devil’ you don’t. The existing health care crisis contributed by the health care and insurance conglomerate’s profit raking strategy fits in with the metaphor.

When the people strive to make it to the top of the slippery slope titled the sensible health care legislation their harnesses are either tampered with or forcibly pulled off by the groups posing as the ‘rescue guards,’ i.e. the representatives in the House and the Senate obligatory to their financiers – the special interests.

In the interim, the ‘so-called’ bipartisanship in the Senate with some prominent legislators and selective House members from both sides of the aisles holding substantial investments in the health care stocks are focused on safeguarding their investments with assurances to the health industry – ‘your wish shall be my command.’

The House and the Senate version presented thus far is directly contradictory to the populist requirement and the President’s initial plan. The shameful tactic in the twentieth century – apart from paralyzing the health care reform, it’s also instrumental for the status quo and they are indicated in the article below.

Deal with ‘Blue Dogs’ sets up health care vote

Associated Press – 07/29/09

“The House changes, which drew immediate opposition from liberals in the chamber, would reduce the federal subsidies designed to help lower-income families afford insurance, exempt additional businesses from a requirement to offer insurance to their workers and change the terms of a government insurance option.

More problematic from the Democrats’ point of view is a tentative agreement to omit a provision in which the government would sell insurance in competition with private industry. In its place, the group is expected to recommend non-profit cooperatives that could operate at the state, regional or even national level.

Nor is any bipartisan recommendation likely to include a requirement for large businesses to offer insurance to their workers. Instead, they would have a choice between offering coverage or paying a portion of any government subsidy that non-insured employees would receive.”

What is wrong with the classic ‘pro-industry’ proposal to appease the health care enterprise at every insured and uninsured American taxpayer’s peril?

Firstly, the House bill to reduce the federal subsidies designed to help lower-income families afford insurance, instead of demanding the health care system comprising the AMA, health care providers accepting Medicare and Medicaid, Pharmaceuticals, the hospital industry…and the insurance industry mark-down the preposterous profit margins hidden in the superficially inflated costs driving the economy and every citizen to bankruptcy.

If there is any resistance from the groups in this regard, then taxing the expensive insurance coverage ensuring the tax liability on the industry rather than the end-consumer is absolutely necessary. If it was already agreed to by all negotiators then the measure combined with higher taxes on capital expenditures by the industry should adequately cover the increase in federal subsidies to the economically disadvantaged.

The health industry in their defense might argue that the supply and demand market forces drive the costs in a free market system. In this context, the commonly unknown fact being, the health industry unlike other industries are uniquely advantaged to thrive throughout with excessive demand arising from the myriad of sources causing illnesses to a vast population of which an alarming proportion fall in the >‘unhealthy’ category.

In the absence of robust competition from a government provided affordable health care, the industry giants have the expansive field wide open to themselves with a huge demand as the catalyst for the exorbitant profits in products and services.

In addition, the major market-share by the big players lay overcast of monopoly for others to compete effectively with the price factor, notwithstanding the industry protocol on limited choice and coverage of care at disproportionate costs.

The non-profit cooperatives have been recently involved in financial mismanagement as reported in California and severely lack in efficiency, ultimately benefiting the current private care system by default. Therefore, it’s not surprising for the industry groups to lobby for the non-profit cooperatives against the government run program.

The bill doesn’t end there. Ice cream is more delicious when served with toppings.

With respect to the businesses and large corporations exempt from the insurance coverage requirement to their workers and employees, it’s yet another ‘dessert’ moment for the legislators playing gracious hosts to the corporate musketeers.

Obviously, the lawmakers more appropriately the lawbreakers are falling head over heels in their romance with the corporate sponsors by relieving them from the fundamental responsibility to care for their workers and employees with health insurance while leaving the underemployed American workforce to fend for themselves in the profit manifested exclusive private health club.

As for the Blue Dogs, a misnomer to the species iconic for their unflinching loyalty, unequivocally clarify that ‘conservatism’ motto regardless of political factions is to delay, defeat and derail national progress. Clearly, the democratic electorate will be able to overcome the obstacle by replacing the obstructionists with the supportive ones in the 2010 elections.

To summarize, the health care casserole prepared by the House and the Senate in the Congress is palatable to the industry as the primary patrons and the caterer of the special menu. The remaining large starving population having peeked at the menu items forced to fake satisfaction from the aroma of the dish, although meant for the populist but served to win over the mighty health care industrialists.

Seriously, if this health care legislation meant to be a ‘reform’, then the bill must include the public option plan, increased federal subsidies, free health care for the most impoverished and a nondiscretionary business/Corporate health insurance for all workers and employees.

Failing that, it would be a band-aid treatment for a widespread chronic ailment in the industry gorging profits at every opportunity and the ‘so-called’ solution will be a cyclical nightmare for the nation attempting its way out of the quick sand economy.

The proposal funded through compromise from the industry with costs reduction equalizing profit contraction proportionate to market sustainability and tax increases suggested in the earlier House Bill itemized per extraordinary income category is the ideal gateway to true ‘reform.’

Otherwise, under the present deal the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ not found in Iraq would appropriately apply to the millions dependent on the democratic majority controlling all three branches of the government to do the right by the people.

Because the welfare of the people is paramount for the success of corporations in a capitalist or any other economic systems as people are the consumers and workers alias human capital in the economy.

Politically, irrespective of the massive corporate investment earned from the sweat and blood of the workforce, there will be no power without the people’s vote in a democracy.

Again, the health care reform will be truly meaningful and purposeful when the recommended changes addressing the plight of the people are reflected in the lifetime legislative matter.

It’s time for every American to stand up for their rights and claim the authentic universal health coverage favoring them and not the profit oriented health care industry.

Please call your local representatives and the Senators to oblige to your needs and not the special interests. Only you can make it happen this time.

Power is powerless against the will of the people in politics and economics.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant