Excuse me if I sound irate…

We need good Republicans, not bad Americans

By Jack E. Lohman

When Rush Limbaugh or Mark Belling says something stupid we can write it off. But the Cato Institute, a right-wing Libertarian outfit, had a very clear agenda when they wrote that Blocking Obama’s Health Plan Is Key to the GOP’s Survival, and the message is frightening.

Think about it. That’s our democracy they are playing with!

The title says it all, essentially that universal health care will help economic recovery and the Republicans must block it to ensure that the Dems don’t get a win. But as well, it will be very popular with the voters and give the Dems an edge in future elections, and therefore, Republican obstructionism must block health care reform and Obama success at all costs.

Of course, they can’t do that without having a few Democrat turncoats, but the insurance industry knows who can be bought.  Sen. Max Baucus is high on their list.

Importantly, obstructionism is not a tool to get better legislation, as politicians claim. It is to provide the necessary political cover for killing good bills so the majority party has limited successes. Whichever party, in this case the Dems.

Is two or four more years of chaos really worth that much to the Republicans? In today’s blogoshere, the public will know who’s standing in the way, thus the R’s should join forces with the Dems and be seen as part of the solution and not as the problem!!!

That the Republicans would trash Obama’s economic recovery and health care reform, all calculated to get themselves back in power, would be reprehensible but not surprising. Going forward this puts a totally new light on obstructionism.

Tidbits:

  • “Americans have tacitly endured access, cost, quality, patient safety, and medical personnel shortages for many years. If healthcare crises are unable to end ”pay-to-play’ politics, nothing will. Our societal values and every facet of the quality of our lives is reflected in what Congress does or fails to do.” — Terry Brauer, CEO, HealthCare Management Consultants, www.healthcare-consulting.com
  • The Republican “plan” is to make sure the Dem’s “plan” doesn’t get passed. Cato’s strategy has some very deep implications. Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct until the public gets tired of zero progress. Then maybe they can recapture the House in 2010.
  • They certainly don’t want Obama’s plan to succeed. And of course, when the shoe is on the other foot the Dems block Republican success.
  • And we are paying these guys to represent us?
  • If we really want good health care reform, we should eliminate all health care for congress and then let them design a system that includes all Americans.
  • Embryonic stem cell research? Michael J. Fox gets to vote, but the rest of us should shut up.
  • Salary increases for congress? I say double their salaries and eliminate tips!
  • 7 Responses to Excuse me if I sound irate…

    1. John says:

      It appears the Republican move to the extreme right is bringing some clarity to fellow conservatives who are now seeing how out of touch their party leaders are to their needs.

      I just posted N.C. Rep. Patrick McHenry’s open admission of obstructionism to make the Dems look bad in time for the upcoming election.

      You would have thought that the idea of taking health care off the backs of businesses, sole proprietors and families might be the right solution at the right time, and divert all the money going to insurance companies to job creation and expansion. But no, rejecting good ideas outside the box they’ve put themselves in have only marginalized their participation in the process.

    2. I agree John. I think the Republican’s biggest enemy is themselves, but I’m reluctant to educate them on that ingrown weakness. They are the best thing the Dems have going for them.

      But this demonstrates an interesting (and well known) fact; that politicians are out only for themselves. Otherwise they would work with the Dems to get us moving forward, and Medicare-for-all is just one of the most obvious solutions that they have chosen to oppose.

      Unfortunately, where they get their campaign funds drives their thinking, and it isn’t in favor of their constituents.

    3. That’s an excellent piece on Republican obstructionism, John. Too bad their loyalties are not aimed at recovering the nation rather than recovering the party to the detriment of the nation.

    4. ezag says:

      Republicans are certainly stupid…and often wrong in policy. But they are not always wrong in policy even when the reasons and motives are faulty. They are correct to oppose Obamacare…too bad they fail to advance a reasonable alternative.

      If there was a penalty for the abuse of health care policy, both parties would soon face execution. This backdoor introduction of universal healthcare will come a cropper. It relies on more regulation (and less market forces), and this is a receipe for future rationing of healthcare. Read my article http://www.hedgehogparty.com/my_weblog/2009/02/universal-healthcare-fallacies.html. It won’t appeal to the free lunch crowd…so I’ll prepare to be reviled.

    5. Ezag, thanks for your comment, though I would approaqch it a different way. I did read your article and the more in-depth report at the link. You have approached the solution from the wrong direction. Start by eliminating the 31% waste created by the unnecessary insurance bureaucracy and go from there. Let’s not spend all of our time and money designing a system that doesn’t work. Medicare works, is low cost and effective. 59% of physicians and 80% of nurses prefer it over the privatized for-profit system.

    6. ezag says:

      The corruption of the health insurance industry does not exist in isolation. They generate a lot of campaign contributions, and only do what they do because they have political protection. They will also apparently be protected in the proposed universal healthcare scheme.

      You should also look at the cost of recovering reimbursements from medicare and medicad. That too is part of the insurance bureaucracy, and it will still be there (with a lot more power) when universal healthcare arrives. Why do you assume that it is most efficient to let every dollar of healthcare go through third party hands? Each dollar gets a haircut before the provider is paid. You can go to any doctor in town and get service at lower cost than medicare…if you pay cash. Why is that? My scheme attempts to reverse that trend.

      You also need to do some math on the trend in costs vs the available funds. “Low cost” medicare and medicaid need a major injection of new funds. Your idea will not be very cheap in a few years…but of course everyone will be trapped in that system by that time. It will make it easy to ration healthcare…not a choice people will freely make.

      Another disturbing trend is reimbursement rates for physicians. Those rates continue to march downward against rising physician costs. It is easy to cut physician reimbursments. Medicare and medicaid do it almost every year. How easy is it to find a medicare or medicaid doctor? I’m on medicare…it is not easy. Do you actually think doctors will become more available? In the future, only a fool will train for 8-12 years to gain the specialities that we currently take for granted.

      By the way, did you know that medicare insurance premiums are means tested? Mine are twice as high as the minimum.

      Only a market based solution (in a market that is not rigged like the one we have now)has any chance of digging us out of this health care mess.

      I agree that physicians prefer medicare and medicad payments to private insurance because there is less gamesmanship…but they will also tell you that the pay is lousy.

    7. I’d probably call the health insurance industry greedy, not corrupt. They are in a “business,” though we don’t need their make-work administrative waste. I’d call the politicians corrupt for protecting them at the expense of their constituents.

      Our problem is not the “cost” of medical procedures, and physicians and nurses are not being overpaid. Medicare rates have been established on the basis of technology cost, labor, overhead and local cost of living. If a doctor took only Medicare he’d do alright. But he must also treat the uninsured, thus he needs the privates so he can overbill them to offset his losses.

      Under a Medicare-for-all system they’d all get paid well because there would be no uninsured losses. Patients would not have to go to the ER for stupid things. The costs would go up when the baby boomers max out, and go down when they die out.

      I don’t like “market based solutions.” There is no such thing as competition in health care, and if there were, patients would go to the most expensive physician thinking they’d get better care.

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