Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I've read the Republican Health Care bills

That's right, your favorite little hippy has read the bicameral 130-page “Patients Choice Act of 2009," Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) “Health Care Freedom Plan,” And Rep. Tom Price's (R-Ga.) “Empowering Patients First Act,” a 130-page plan, HR 3400.

Some of you may be asking, why on Earth would you do that? Well, I've been debating politics with my elders the past couple of days. And the majority of the elders in my family are Republicans. I mentioned that I hadn't heard about any legislation from the Republicans on the whole Health Care debate My father promptly informed me that the Liberal media have studiously avoided reporting on them, thus giving cover for Obama to make the claim that the Republicans had offered no alternative. He sent me a link that had names for three of the bills, I searched the Government Printing Office's website and found the actual bills the congress-people are working with. Since I'm on extended maternity leave/unemployment and really lacking in cerebral stimulation right now, I actually read the bills. :-D

I thought to myself, self, perhaps there are other people who are curious about what's in those bills. Maybe they saw the republicans waving them during Obama's address, and wonder what they say.

None of them, in my opinion, address the root issues the system faces, some of them have sections detailing that abortions can't be had with gov't money. I was tired of hearing the republicans rant against abortion by the end of Bush's first term, I'm certainly in no mood to listen to it now that the dem's have control. :-P Here's my take on the three most popular GOP bills, put forward as alternatives to the Dem's reform legislation.

I read Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) “Health Care Freedom Plan", and all it entailed was a tax credit up to 5000$ per family for eligible health insurance spending, and a section trying to fix the liability problems. I think it was trying to limit the amounts people could sue for, I kinda got bogged down in the legalese. While fixing the liability issues facing doctors is certainly important, and I wish the dem's would do something about that issue, the main section of the plan, the tax credit, does very little to help those American's who don't have health insurance. It also doesn't seem like it helps American's, it just seems to shunt money into the hands of big insurance companies, telling them to go about business as usual, with no motivations for reducing costs or increasing efficiency.

“Patients Choice Act of 2009.” appears to be just Medicare legislation. In fact the whole title is Empowering Medicare Patients Choice Act. The purpose: "To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for the establishment of shared decision making standards and requirements and to establish a pilot program for the implementation of shared decision making under the Medicare program."
That hardly seems earth moving to me, but I know the GOP depends on the scared old white people vote, so they have to go with their strengths. :-D Although "shared decision making" does sound an awful lot like Death Panels to me. :-D

“Empowering Patients First Act,” is more of the tax credits and abortion limitations. Nothing to help fix the rising health care costs and decreasing satisfaction that excludes so many Americans from health care.

These don't seem like anything I'd waste time talking about in the middle of a debate on health care reform, and I'm not even a Dem. They seem like bandaids, salves that pretend to help Americans but in reality just send more tax payer dollars to big insurers. Although, that one section dealing with the liability issue, that is worthwhile in my mind. That's an actual problem forcing lots of dr's out of practice because they can't afford malpractice insurance. I hope that bit of legislation eventually sees the light of day, but who knows.

Hopefully this sheds some light on the under-reported GOP bills.

1 comment:

Brian Johnson said...

Yeah, the notion of mandatory insurance irks. As a CMA, Melanie deals with insurance companies on a daily basis and can attest to the inefficiencies introduced by navigating labyrinthine insurance codes, and negotiating with insurance company representatives to haggle over the necessity of tests or other procedures - tests that the patients doctor may require to diagnose a life altering thyroid condition for example. Insurance companies are in the business of care prevention - that's how they make money. I do agree with capping malpractice suits. Our overly-litigious society could use some restraint. Of course, I also feel that our top heavy corporate structures could also do with some heavy duty compensation caps. Anyway, to health care- I also see cost cutting possibilities by limiting unnecessary testing or care, but I do not see the current private insurance model as a viable solution. If they could they would condition away any coverage - necessary or not. However, I've yet to hear a good idea from either party to address over-treatment driven by a provider compensation model that encourages the practice. Ultimately, any forward thinking bill should feature preventive care, education funding and restrictions on targeted food ads- encouraging healthy choices could do wonders for long term treatment costs. Any government of a nation facing an obesity and diabetes epidemic should be well aware of the cost benefits of education and prevention, and the evils of child targeted food advertising; I'm sure friend Becky could chime in there. I will restrain from going on about the füd industry as this will invite chants of the
"free choice" mantra so often offered as the rebuttal for programs designed to protect people from corporate shenanigans. Of course, we fight an endless drug war that is justified by the notion of protecting people from their own bad choices. I guess it all depends on how the money is made- agribusiness makes the monies by selling crap to kids and private prison companies make monies by packing non-violent drug offenders into government subsidized cages and using the cagees as slave labor.