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I'm on President Obama's mailing list. In the last couple weeks, I've received multiple e-mails from his "grassroots" organization, Obama For America (which is really just the Democratic National Committee. There's nothing grassroots about it). These e-mails are about health care reform, and they are always the same. They state that Obama's health care plan is designed to reduce costs, improve health care quality, and provide universal health care coverage. Obama For America/DNC then asks me to e-mail my Congresspersons, voicing my support for the health care plan, and OBA/DNC also asks for a donation. OBA/DNC informs me Congress is hard at work formulating a plan for health care (which actually means it isn't OBAMA'S health care plan at all. It's Congress' health care plan).
Only politicians are ever this brazen. Think about what OBA/DNC is asking me to do. They are asking me to support a health care plan that has not yet been designed. They are asking me to support a health care plan without providing any substantive details about the plan whatsoever. The only details they do provide are regarding electronic recordkeeping and preventitive care. Sorry, OBA/DNC, that isn't much of an answer. They say the plan will "reduce costs," and by that they mean it will cost a bundle (there was a $634 billion "down payment" in deficit spending already budgeted for Obama's health care plan). They provide no details about how the health care plan will be paid for.
Then OBA/DNC has the nerve to criticize their opponents, by saying their opponents will "spread fear and confusion" about their wondrous unexplained health care plan. Well, I don't know about the fear part, but OBA/DNC certainly has me confused. I have no idea what they want me to support.
And I don't want to be a stickler here, but I'm also wondering why the President of the United States needs donations from me to pass health care reform. He's ALREADY THE PRESIDENT, AND HIS PARTY HOLDS THE MAJORITY IN CONGRESS. The Democrats are in full control of the government. If they can't pass health care reform without wringing a few more bucks from my wallet, that's their problem, not mine.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't usually support things I know next to nothing about, and I don't support plans that are nothing more than vague sound bytes at this point.
The OBA/DNC e-mails tell me Congress will have a health care reform bill ready by the end of July.
Mr. President, e-mail me back about a week after your health care plan is spelled out, and then I will tell you whether I can support it or not. Until then, spare me the political rhetoric. I only sign on to hopenchange when I know exactly what that means. Maybe your Kool-Aid drinkers are impressed by your superficial blather, but I'm not one of them.
Btw, the Republicans (the alleged party of 'no'), already have a health care plan. It was designed by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who is a former doctor, and a few others. It's called the Patient's Choice Act Of 2009. It has no chance of being implemented, of course, but if you're interested in reading it for academic purposes, follow the above link. If you want briefer summaries, opinions, and comments from the sponsor's of the bill, go here.
Here's a brief overview from Senator Coburn:
"The Patients’ Choice Act of 2009,” transforms health care in America by strengthening the relationship between the patient and the doctor; using choice and competition rather than rationing and restrictions to contain costs; and ensuring universal, affordable health care for all Americans. “The Patients’ Choice Act” promotes innovative, State-based solutions, along with fundamental reforms in the tax code, to give every American, regardless of employment status, age, or health condition, the ability and the resources to purchase health insurance. The comprehensive legislation includes concrete prevention and transparency initiatives, long overdue reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, investments in wellness programs and health IT, and more.
As a practicing physician, I have seen first-hand how giving government more control over health care has failed to make health care more affordable and accessible. The American people deserve health care reform that will work, not another round of so-called reform that repeats the same failed policies of the past. Congress and the administration have the opportunity to pursue bold reform and a fresh start. The Patients’ Choice Act will provide every American with access to affordable health care without a tax increase, more debt and waiting lines.”
According to Americans For Tax Reform, the Republicans health care plan is revenue neutral. That sounds a little better than something that requires a $634 billion "down payment," as Obama's undefined plan does. It's at least worth considering.
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