Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Why GOP Fears Meaningful Health Care

July 8, 2009, 9:55 a.m.

GOP Sees Democrats Taking Credit for Meaningful Health Care Legislation
as Partisan Blow to Republican Party

(brought to you by*)

Update July 23, 2009: As further evidence that the GOP continues, up to this day, to view its opposition to health care as a way to strengthen the Republican Party -- at the expense of the health of the American people, as well as the Democrats and President Obama -- Senator Jim DeMint is urging on his Republican colleagues with the hopeful assessment, “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.” Linda Feldmann, "How Jim DeMint did Obama a favor; The senator said healthcare would be Obama's 'Waterloo' – if Obama lost, it would break him. Now, Obama is using the comment as an example of crass Beltway obstructionism," Christian Science Monitor, January 21, 2009.

July 8, 2009:

As I wrote in a Letter to the Editor in this morning's Des Moines Register . . .

Nicholas Johnson, "GOP Puts Party First in Health Care Debate,"
Des Moines Register, July 8, 2009

Sen. Charles Grassley says, "We need to make sure there's no public option"(MSNBC-TV, June 24).

Why do Republicans fight meaningful health-care reform? The answer's not pretty.

The Cato Institute candidly explains in a blog entry headlined, "Blocking Obama's Health Plan Is Key to the GOP's Survival."

Bill Kristol's "Project for the Republican Future" said as much in 1993: "The Clinton [health-care] proposal is a serious political threat to the Republican Party."

Looks as if those who thought health-care reform opponents were just paying back some of their most generous campaign contributors gave the politicians too much credit. It's worse. It turns out some officials are willing to put partisan political advantage ahead of Americans' health care.

The for-profit marketplace does some things well. Health care's not one of them. We pay more while covering fewer and getting less, with more rapidly increasing costs, than any country on Earth. Insurance companies create the ever-increasing profits Wall Street demands by ever-increasing premiums, denying coverage to some and the legitimate claims of others.

No wonder Register polls document Iowans' support for a public option.

Senator Grassley and other health-care opponents may just find the voters rejecting them as well as their partisan strategy if they persist in favoring the insurance companies over the health-care needs and desires of their constituents.

- Nicholas Johnson, Iowa City

By the end of the day there were 29 comments attached to this piece on the Register's Web site, including my addition:

The purpose of this letter to the editor was to promote some discussion regarding our health care options, and it seems to have achieved that purpose.

The WSJ piece was cited several times in these comments so I read not only that opinion piece but also a goodly number of its comments -- many of which were quite constructive. Among them was a reference to a balanced evaluation of the systems in England, Canada, France and the Netherlands that appeared in the Boston Globe. Those of you interested in learning more about systems in other countries might enjoy it: Jonathan Cohn, "Healthy Examples: Plenty of Countries Get Healthcare Right," July 5, of_countries_get_healthcare_right/.
This researcher's data shows where our system is superior, and where it could improve compared to, especially, France (which appears to do a better job than Candada and England and may be a better example for us).
7/8/2009 7:28:34 PM


Meanwhile, the Register's morning editorial does not dismiss the effect of campaign contributions and lobbying expenses as completely as I appear to:

Editorial, "In Health Reform, Focus on People, Not Lobbyists," Des Moines Register, July 8, 2009 ("[T]he health industry - hospitals, insurance companies and medical groups - has hired more than 350 former government staff members and lawmakers . . . more than $1.4 million a day . . .. Elected representatives aren't supposed to be working on behalf of insurance companies who oppose a 'public option' for health insurance because it would jeopardize profits. Or on behalf of drug companies that want to collect as much as they can for medications. . . . Lawmakers need to focus on average Americans - who aren't trying to make money on the health-care system and don't have friends on K street. They just want affordable health care").

Amen, brother.

* Why do I put this blog ID at the top of the entry, when you know full well what blog you're reading? Because there are a number of Internet sites that, for whatever reason, simply take the blog entries of others and reproduce them as their own without crediting the source. I don't mind the flattering attention, but would appreciate acknowledgment as the source, even if I have to embed it myself. -- Nicholas Johnson

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1 comment:

Nick said...

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