Posts tagged with Health Care + Policy

Loud Fury

In my experience, when there is a debate going on and one of the sides begins screaming just to try to shut the other side up, it means that the discussion is over. The screaming side has lost, and their reaction is clearly a desperate way to try and turn things around. And this is exactly what the extreme right in the United States (I will not say Republicans, because there are many moderate members of the GOP who abhor this kind of behavior) is doing – they are trying to drown out any form of intelligent discussion on the issue of health care reform.

For those outside the US who are reading this, let me quickly summarize what is going on: President Obama has proposed a major overhaul on health insurance in this country to allow 40 million uninsured Americans to receive affordable coverage. Unlike many other nations, if you need to see a doctor here and you have no insurance, it will cost you a lot. There are no “public” hospitals where you can be taken care inexpensively, because private health providers have the system in a choke hold. The President's proposal will dramatically change that situation, but right-wing conservatives are battling them by spreading lies and false rumors meant to scare the less informed. And surprisingly, those tactics have been working quite well, and as a result Town Hall meetings across America have become shouting matches where right-wing nuts scream at their Congressmen and women with idiotic threats, unrelated statements and things like that.

In the meantime, those who support the initiative have done very little to turn the tide to avoid going down to the wingnuts' level. A recent effort was a page on the President's website that countered the false rumors.

I think that having a bipartisan effort in this matter is nothing but a pipe dream. Members of the GOP in Congress are fearful of going against the party line (they have pretty much opposed all of the President's proposals so far) because they know that this might cost their seat, even if it is for the good of the country. They should look at the example set by Pres. Lyndon Johnson, who signed the Voting Rights Act even though he knew that would cost any support he might have in the racist South. He just did the right thing, and he is remembered fondly for that single act.

You see, unlike what Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) said in Wall Street, greed is not good. Greed keeps us from reasoning, and also blinds us. What I think the President should do is to turn a deaf ear to the GOP in Congress and go at it alone with the support he has today. At this time, a coalition will not work. Bipartisanship will not make a health reform come true.


Why A Health Care Reform Is Needed Now!

by Ernest Barteldes

A few years ago, a close friend of mine was unfortunate enough to have suffered an automobile accident shortly before her job benefits kicked in. She was rushed to an emergency room and treated for her cuts and bruises. Though luckily she didn't have any serious injuries, a few weeks later she received a hospital bill for thousands of dollars. Not too long ago, I also ended up at a Staten Island ER with a massive toothache. Even though I was fully insured at the time, the hospital still sent me a $ 130 bill (what they called a co-pay) for what was basically a few minutes' attention, a Vicodin pill and a prescription for powerful painkillers. Until recently, another person I know worked for a small business that did not provide health benefits for their employees, which meant she had to pay for every exam, doctors' visits and other need even though she went to a clinic that supposedly provided affordable services for those unable to pay for insurance out of their pockets. These are only a few examples of stories that prove that we drastically need to fix this country's health system. The way things stand today, countless individuals are going bankrupt because they are unable to pay for the hefty fees imposed to the uninsured. Thousands others die or go without medical attention because they cannot afford to pay for said services. This affects – in a way or another – all of us who are living in the United States today. The President has sent a health care reform proposal to Congress, and there is a fierce debate over it going on right now. . Unfortunately, several right-wing Republicans are using this as an opportunity to regain control of Congress during the midterm elections – basically going against Pres. Obama the same way that they damaged Clinton fifteen years ago over the exactly same issue. Republican editor William Kristol actually wrote that this is the time to “go for the kill” to try and unbalance his Presidency.

If you ask me, this is utterly irresponsible. We need health care reform now. This country needs to step up and protect the millions of American taxpayers who go without proper care. We cannot allow the fat cats at the insurance companies to reap huge profits at the expense of the people. Yes, we are a capitalist country and all. But we are not savage. It is time to take action now, and there is something we can all do: we can contact our representatives in Congress and let them know how we feel. Once their offices are inundated with calls, letters and emails, they will understand that their necks will be on the line during the Midterm elections next year. Believe me, this is for our own good.


On The Murder of Dr. George Tiller

It was with disgust that I learned about the murder of Dr. George Tiller last weekend in Wichita It made me remember of another slaying that happened here in New York about a decade ago,when Dr. Bernard Slepian was cowardly shot sniper-style by by a radical pro-life activist gone beserk.

I personally oppose to abortion by principle, but have no problem with laws that favor the act itself. Reason being that my views are strictly religious – and as far as I know, in this country the laws of the state have nothing to do with the laws of any specific religious organization. As Jesus said himself, “"Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's."

Now, I think that abortion rights opposers can make all the noise they want in order to get what they want – go on TV, protest in front of clinics, lobby their congressmen – after all, they are exercising their constitutional freedoms just as the doctors are exercising theirs. But when they begin resorting to violence it is just plain wrong, no matter how you look at it.

Now one might say that clinical abortions are acts of violence performed against the unborn – but the fact remains that such procedures are protected by Roe Vs. Wade, so whatever one might think – they are protected by law, no matter what you might think about it. If the suspected murderer is convicted and then sentenced to death, the more vocal Right-To-Life activists might want to call him a martyr and a hero. If they do so, they will at last lose my respect once and for all.