Best for the people
I lived in Massachusetts for many years, including when the state implemented health care reform similar to the federal plans now in Congress.
Under the new system, I always received good-quality care, in a timely way, and at a cost I could afford. Before health care reform in Massachusetts, I was uninsured, as my employer didn’t offer insurance benefits, and I couldn’t afford to pay for it out of pocket.
Access to health care is a basic human right, one that millions of people in this country, including children, do not enjoy. Many people pay more and more of their hard-earned money for it each year, and small businesses are burdened with increasing insurance costs.
The bills now in Congress are very flawed, no question. I would ultimately like to see single-payer health care. But I can’t abide by delaying to change and improve the system we have which leaves so many out and costs too much. The process of change doesn’t stop with passage of a bill. By passing the best legislation possible now, and continuing to pressure our leaders to do what is best for the people, we take a big step toward a smarter, more just and cost-effective system.
Reid states the obvious
Harry Reid was wrong when he said that Barack Obama is “light skinned” and speaks with no “Negro dialect.” Right? Right!
But, why is that bad again? Because Barack Obama is light-skinned and doesn’t speak with a “Negro” dialect, whatever that is?
Ebonics, I suppose.
So, why are people calling for Harry Reid to step down? Because he stated the obvious in a private conversation? Is it Harry Reid’s fault that there’s no way a dark black man who speaks Ebonics could get elected in this country right now?
Getting rich on the sick
Those of us lucky enough to have health insurance that pays a part of our medical bills (I have a large deductible) ought to be fighting just as hard as those who do not to reform our health care system. We owe it not only to our fellow citizens as individuals, but to our nation as a whole, which must correct this basic inequity in order to continue its progress toward a more perfect union.
We are in the midst of a great debate about how to achieve universal health care coverage. But one thing we can all agree on is that the present system in broken. We spend more per capita on health care than any other nation, obtain substandard results and exclude tens of millions of people from the system.
Here in Maine, the dominant health insurance company, Anthem, has just recently proposed a 23 percent rate increase on individual policyholders, while still in court trying to force the state to allow it to boost last year’s rate hike from 10 percent to 19 percent. Whatever the merits of Anthem’s rate-hike proposals, the fact is the people of Maine can’t afford them.
That’s why we need the comprehensive reform now before Congress, which, among other desirable provisions, guarantees affordable insurance; and why our two senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, should support that reform. They need to do the correct thing, not be cowed by politics, lobbyists, and shareholders.
I personally find it repugnant that people are getting rich from the sick.
Obama becomes Bush
Since Jan. 20, 2009, war-time leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner President Barack H. Obama has been highly criticized by independents, conservatives and Republicans, as well he should be: corporate, union and individual bailouts that were never needed; a failed stimulus program; nationalized health care; and treating the domestic terrorist threat as nothing but Bush-Cheney fearmongering.
However in the area of foreign policy he deserves their support. Obama has enthusiastically embraced the President Bush-General Petraeus Iraqi withdrawal plan; after being rebuffed by the Iranians and North Koreans he now views them as part of the Axis of Evil; and most importantly he has adopted the Bush surge strategy for Afghanistan, which he refers to as a “just war,” or the so-called good war.
It is important that these groups support Obama’s Afghan war in the face of opposition from the anti-war center of the Democratic Party as represented by Obama’s financier Moveon.Org., self-described Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders and the Code Pink hecklers.
In summary, Obama is sounding and acting less like candidate Obama and more like Bush-Cheney. This is change we can believe in.
Moral health reform
As an ordained minister, I view the effort to reform our broken health care system as a long-overdue moral effort to put the well-being of the many ahead of the financial and political interests of the few.
If we do not succeed in achieving this important rebalancing of priorities in this and many other areas of public life, I believe our future as a nation is in peril.
Reasonable observers agree our current system is broken. It costs too much while achieving relatively poor outcomes. More and more of the expense is being shifted onto individuals in the form of higher premiums, deductibles and co-payments. And, most importantly, tens of millions of our neighbors are barred entirely from regular medical care because they lack insurance.
Meanwhile, health care stocks and executive salaries are doing very well. Here in Maine, the dominant insurer, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, is attempting to raise this year’s premiums by 23 percent while arguing in court that last year’s boost of 10 percent should be nearly doubled.
Although some politicians are opposing reform for strictly tactical reasons, our two senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, are not among them. They displayed their bipartisan credentials during the amending process on the Senate floor. If they vote for the final bill that emerges from negotiations with the House of Representatives they will not only improve the nation’s physical health, but help us begin the process of regaining our moral balance.
Rev. Dr. Eric W. Kelley