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November 4 , 2009

HEALTH CARE REFORM NOW: LESSONS TO SIMPLIFY REFORM PROPOSALS


Only when the citizens of this nation demand health care reform, will it happen. Today we are in the midst of a vicious campaign with representatives of those who profit from our present system fighting every effort to seek reform that will help the vast majority of people in this country.  It’s been 44 years since we‘ve had any meaningful health care reform. Medicare and premium costs continue to escalate. Quality care remains elusive. Large numbers of Americans have no or little health insurance at all!  The nation’s economy – one sixth of which is tied to health care – cannot survive the ever increasing costs which bring unparalleled profits to insurance companies, and to some individual and group practitioners, health related corporations, hospitals and pharmaceutical firms. 

The insurance and pharmaceutical companies have huge resources at their command.  Efforts to rein in costs, expand coverage and improve quality generate a full-scale offensive of myths and misconceptions designed to convince the American people to reject reform once again as happened during the Clinton administration.               

Health care premiums have risen 131% over the last decade. Employer provided health care premiums average $13,000 in 2009 and the cost of coverage continues to outpace increases in wages and inflation. The average annual cost of coverage hit $4824 for an individual and $13,375 for a family in 2009.               

We look at this on-going struggle and attempt to simplify the proposed reforms so that the average lay person can better understand them.  We ask and attempt to answer five questions: 

  1. Is health care reform necessary and achievable?
  2. What is the process that can make health care reform happen?
  3. Does proposed legislation address key reform goals?
  4. How can compromise overcome opposition to the basic provisions of pending health care legislation?
  5. What might effective health care reform involve?

We conclude by asserting that health care reform can be achieved only if citizens - voters across the country - reject the myths and misconceptions with which the print and electronic media are constantly bombarding them. Insurance companies also add misleading mailings to frighten us still further.  Citizens must educate themselves to the real issues behind the claims of special interests and understand that at this time they are being held hostage to the demands of Wall Street.  These include insurance company profits, the greed of individual and group medical practitioners who want to expand their bottom line, the demand of pharmaceutical companies to increase their already huge profits, and  the prevailing view of a minority Republican party that those less fortunate are  less worthy, and that health care is a privilege and not a right.  Add to all this the number of good doctors and hospitals that are really struggling to survive in this cut-throat health care industry!   

Finally, Americans must realize that only by extending health care to our neighbors can we insure that we will enjoy quality health care ourselves.  

This struggle is not pretty but it is timely and its resolution will signal what kind of nation we will become and what kind of people we truly are! 

THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO INFLUENCE YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS. EMAIL AND/OR CALL THEM TODAY - ESPECIALLY YOUR SENATORS TO SHARE YOUR VIEWS AND TELL THEM THAT YOU WANT A SENATE BILL WHICH LEADS TO PASSAGE OF HEALTH CARE REFORM NOW!

 

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