The Healthcare debate, the most divisive issue of 2009 (and likely will continue next year) is seemingly closer than ever to a conclusion. The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (who I am most definitely NOT a fan of..) has stated that they hope to vote on the House bill (H.R. 3962) on a rare Saturday session. Most likely the House will pass the bill and this would be one step closer to Healthcare reform. Of course it will hardly mean the end of the issue because not only does the Senate have to pass a bill, the two bills will then have to merged together and the final bill will then go to the President for signing. To be honest, I largely support most of the measures in the current House bill but the price tag and the massive scope of it does bother me a bit. I have paid a great deal of attention to the healthcare debate and have read the current bill. To me, it seems that the Democrats are putting too much too fast in this bill and therefore it makes it a hard pill to swallow. I have always wondered why they didn't try a staggered approach, for example:
1st Bill (pass before 2009 is out)- Ban Insurance companies from dropping people for "pre-existing conditions". Remove the Insurance companies anti-trust exemption.
2nd Bill (pass by Spring '10)- Pass measures (whatever they may be I'm not an expert on this) to lower insurance premiums
3rd Bill (pass by the end of 2010)- Establish a national Public Insurance Option for those who can't afford private insurance and allow each state to decide whether they want to "opt-in" by Legislative vote. And make members of Congress have to apply for this Public Option.
This makes the most sense to me, but it would be a much longer and possibly painful process but it would mean at the very least some reform would be achieved and would likely get some bipartisan support. But regardless, until very recently the Republicans have just sat by and yelled and screamed and not offered their own plan, that was til a few days ago. But to be honest if the Democratic bill is too much too fast, the Republican bill is much too slow and just pointless. The Republican bill, while costing less and would lower premium costs, would only cover a few million more people and would continue to allow Insurance companies to drop people for pre-existing conditions. The only advantage I can see that this bill does for the Republican is that they can at least claim they put up a bill, as terrible as it is.
Today the Republican house members (not all) held a "press conference" at the Capital in which several thousand Tea Partiers attended and vented their anger and outright ignorance towards to Healthcare reform. Led by Michelle Bachman, who the people of Minnesota should be ashamed of, she stated that as Thomas Jefferson stated that a revolution is good every once and a while. Are you serious? A congresswoman, supposedly a responsible and patriotic American, believes this healthcare debate requires a REVOLUTION to resolve. I honestly expect such chatter from Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh because they aren't accountable to anyone but for a member of congress to say such things and think she can get away with it is disgusting...what would be worse is if the people of Minnesota re-elect her though I know it is possible because a congressman from my home state of Iowa (Steven King) continues to win re-elections regardless of the ignorance and idiocy he often displays. At said rally posters in the crowd displayed beliefs that the actions of the government are socialist or worse (such as a poster that compared healthcare reform to a image of corpses at the Nazi concentration camp..) and I just wonder whether these people even try to research what they are protesting or they just blindly follow television/radio pundits as if what they speak is the truth. I've got news for these morons, the vast majority of Western Europe have either a "socialized healthcare system" or a single-player system that these people claim the Democrats are trying to pass, guess what, they haven't become Socialist/Marxist states deprived of freedom and liberty! Instead they have true universal healthcare and it costs much less than our current system and they often have longer life expectancies. I wonder how Michelle Bachman or Steve King would explain that? I think its insulting to all Americans that they believe we are politically weaker and simple-minded than our European counterparts and that allowing Healthcare reform pass would be the beginning of some kind of terrible Socialist takeover. I have honestly tried for months now to understand where Tea Partiers and right-wing crazies are coming from but I just don't get it. I may not think the current Healthcare bill the Democrats are pushing is perfect (and most agree it isn't) but the Republicans counter bill is just a joke. How do they expect political independents to think they are really trying to force a healthy debate on this issue when all they seem to do is yell and scream, but I don't think the Democrats have handled this the best either, they have been very partisan (not quite as much as Republicans) but the whole issue just illustrates the biggest problem with our political system. The idea of trying to find middle-ground and crossing the party lines is either seen as party treason or simply used as a political ploy to win votes..both parties should be ashamed of themselves...Somehow the political middle ground in Congress has become a No-Mans Land where Republicans and Democrats alike dare not tread...