Most people believe that we do need to reform the way that health care is administered in this Country. However, most are torn on how we do it. People on the left want a robust public option. The public option is a Government administered health system, much like Medicare. This option, they feel, will be an effective tool to counter private insurance companies from arbitrarily raising rates on consumers. They also feel that the public option is a comprise from the single payer that they really want for all Americans. The right wing wants a greater emphasis on tort reform. The right wing feels that the reason for the rising health care costs are the large amount of lawsuits attributed from wrongful procedures. These lawsuits drive up the cost of malpractice insurance, in turn driving up the cost of procedures. Whether one is on the left or on the right there is a hope that health care should be a fundamental right. At least that is what I hope.
Last night on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”, Keith made a special comment on the pending health care bill in the U.S. Senate. Keith’s main point in his special comment was to make the president take a stand on health care by dropping the individual mandate that is written into the legislation. When majority leader, Harry Reid, decided to drop the public option to favor a lower buy in age in Medicare, many people on the left embraced the bill. Allowing people from the ages of 55-64 to buy into Medicare early was a great leap forward. Many experts believe that this age range of people are the ones that primarily get dropped from insurance companies. This would be a win-win for all American’s. However, Senator Joe Lieberman (I) from CT did not see it that way. Well, he saw it that way in September, but decided to flip flop so he can get the attention from the insurance company that he works for, Aetna. In addition to the attention he received from the insurance companies he also received attention from the White House. President Obama instructed Harry Reid to kill the Medicare buy in in an attempt to appease Lieberman. This has angered many people who had an active part in forming this legislation. Former Governor Howard Dean has angered many people, especially in the administration, by saying that the best thing for the Senate to do is to kill the bill, and go to conference with the House. He also went on to say that this bill has no reform in it, and this bill is a big gift to the insurance companies. Keith Olbermann made all these points in his special comment. He is right. In my opinion, there is no reform in this bill. But, it is not too late.
Forcing people to buy into insurance is fine as long as people have choice. The point that Keith made was that people will not have a choice. Without a public option they will be forced into buying coverage from the same, greedy, insurance companies that the Congress is trying to reform. In addition to the individual mandate, a person will have to pay a fine for not having coverage. Paying a fine is a tax increase, which is something that the president did not support for the middle class during the campaign. So, what does that mean for the 15 million unemployed? Will they be forced to pay $1,000 a month for coverage? No, they will simply pay the fine and go to the emergency room for care. Frankly, many on the left are frustrated!! How is it that Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives, a fillibuster proof majority in the Senate, a so called “liberal” president and not pass a strong health care bill? If the Republicans held these strong majorities they would ram their whole agenda down the throats of the people and they will like it. In fact, the Democrats would join them. Just like they did with the two wars, Patriot Act, Homeland Security, the tax cuts for the rich….it goes on and on.
Democrats need to be tough!! Enough with the grandstanding by a select few. Enough with trying to reach across the aisle, enough with trying to portray yourself running down the center. Yes, Mr. President, you are governing down the center, but think of this. Keith Olbermann recalled a story of an event that happened to him six years ago, when he first started hosting his cable television show.
He recalled a time when he was at a New York Yankee’s game. He was approached by a person for an autograph. The person’s friend turned to him and said, “Why are you asking him for an autograph; he’s one of those liberals” Keith thought to himself that there was nothing he ever did or nothing that he said to paint him as a liberal. He tried to be neutral, but then it hit him. If people have an image of who you are, then you are that image. Many people on the right call President Obama a socialist, a liberal, a Marxist…so whatever neutrality the president is trying to portray does not matter in the eyes of his critics. He will always be a Socialist, Marxist. If the president continues to be an ineffective leader, or let the ineffective Congress act like spoiled rich kids, then his base will not work hard or turn out to vote for him in 2012.