Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The US Senate's Health Care Reform Bill

As Crooked As They Wanna Be

What is most difficult to understand, is why the Republicans, who do not have even enough votes to fillibuster this bill, have so much clout. If this situation had arisen five years ago when there was a Republican majority in the Senate and the House, as well as in the Whitehouse, we all know that the Repulicans would have ridden rough shod over the Dems and laughed in the face of anybody stupid enough to object to any of their provisions at all. But what we are witnessing now, is a Democratic Congress unwilling to so much as whisper that the Republicans need to get on board with what the vast majority of Americans have expressly demanded of Congress, or else, you Repukes go to Hell and we will take it from here and for once, do our jobs--- which the voters sent us here to do.

I received a letter from Charles Schumer D-New York, in this morning's e-mail and was rather put off by Schumer's claims that this is a great Health Care Reform Bill as hammered out by the Senate. I did not have to check any other newsletters to know that old Charlie Schumer is lying through his political teeth. He wants the voters to believe that he and others worked so hard and achieved so much. But achieved so much for whom, Charlie? It's for damn sure you did nothing admirable for the voters! What he really wanted in the letter is money. After lying like a snake in the grass he included a DONATE button at the bottom of the page.

Whassamatter, Charlie? The Big Bad Insurance Lobbyists lurking under your desk didn't slip enough schekels into your pocket?

No Charles, this bill is not even vaguely acceptable. You and your lying cronies need to go back to the drawing board and do big revisions. And you already know that.

And you knew it last summer.

It is for certain that Max Baucus was not just whistlin' Dixie when he told Ralph Nader that the Health Care Reform Bill was a Done Deal. Right now, this bill is a massive gift to Wall Street and the insurance companies and at the massive expense of the tax payers on Main Street. Merry Christmas from the Senate Santa--- to Cigna and all the other big Health Insurers.

So what, specifically, is wrong with the bill as it stands at this moment? Well, thanks to MoveOn.org, here are a few highlights that, even at first glance, just look wrong:

  • Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to private insurance corporations -- whether you want to or not
  • If you refuse to buy the insurance, you'll have to pay penalties of up to 2% of your annual income to the IRS
  • After being forced to pay thousands in premiums for junk insurance, you can still be on the hook for up to $11,900 a year in out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • Massive restriction on a woman's right to choose, designed to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court
  • Paid for by taxes on the middle class insurance plan you have right now through your employer, causing them to cut back benefits and increase co-pays.

Five Critical Flaws in the Senate Health Care Bill

The Senate bill would:

  1. —Deny Americans the choice of a public option. In contrast, the House bill contains a national public option, the key to real competition, greater choice, and lower costs.
  2. —Leave insurance unaffordable for some lower income and working people. Both bills require virtually all Americans to buy insurance. But even with the subsidies provided, some families could have to pay up to 20% of their income on health care expenses.
  3. —Impose dangerous restrictions on women's reproductive health care. Unfortunately, both bills do this and the House provision is worse. Both versions would be a dangerous step and neither should be in the final bill.
  4. —Tax American workers' health coverage to pay for reform. The Senate would pay for part of reform by taxing the hard-won benefits packages of some working Americans. The House, on the other hand, pays for reform with a small surcharge on only the wealthiest Americans—a far better approach.
  5. —Allow insurance companies to remain exempt from anti-trust laws. Under current law, insurance companies are actually exempt from laws designed to prevent monopolies and price-gouging. The House bill would fix this, but the Senate bill leaves it in place.
  6. --Of course, these aren't the only problems with the bill. Most glaringly, both the Senate and House bill would leave millions uninsured, a far cry from the vision of universal coverage so many of us have fought for. That remains a long-term goal.

But these five things need to be fixed immediately—and we need to spread the word to make sure House and Senate leadership and the White House get the message we're counting on them to craft a final bill with these key fixes.

If the American people don't cry out loud and ugly on this one, then they are just too stupid to care about and I quit. They have been totally shafted by the Democratic Party and the US Senate.

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