I’m not entirely on the “kill the bill” bandwagon. There is definitely some good being done in the bill, but it is being overshadowed by the bad.
One issue I haven’t seen addressed is the effect on charitable care. The bill supporters out there seem to either ignore the issue, or just aren’t aware of it. Let me explain.
There are numerous charitable organizations out there that help people with health care. On top of that there are numerous programs that also help, including programs offered by the pharmaceutical companies. Some of these programs are very generous, including the pharma ones that actually give out free medication to people who can’t afford them. Of course there is one big requirement for these programs – having no insurance.
With a lot of these programs their financial guidelines are much more lenient than those of the health care bill. Some even let people qualify at 250% of the federal poverty level. The problem is that once people are mandated to buy insurance, the lower income people will have a tough choice to make. Will it be cheaper to skip insurance, pay the fine and continue using these programs, or will it be better to pay for insurance and fork out the cash for the co-pay. There is no single answer here. It will all depend on each individual case; their finances, current medication and treatments, etc. But given that you can see that there are situations in which this bill can hurt people.
One hope is that if the mandate goes through these organizations will change their requirements and provide their services for people with coverage. Honestly it would be beneficial to them. Take the drug programs. Instead of having to give away drugs, they would be able to get most of the cost back through the insurance and surpass the co-pay.
Having said that though, I am still a firm believer in the fact that the mandate must go. Instead we should use it to hold the insurance industry hostage. The mandate is a gold mine to them, and if we remove it then Congress can work for a much more progressive bill down the road, including the mandate. If big insurance wants to dump their millions into lobbying against it, then they are also lobbying against their mandate.
I also am standing firm on us having a properly negotiated bill come out of conference. Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman are not the government of the United States of America – our Constitution says as much. There is a process and by trying to negate that process to appease to these two is the same level of corruption we fought to get rid of with the GOP.
I am sure some bill supporters will jump on the demands starting to come out of the House and accuse these people of trying to kill the bill, but they have every bit as much of a right to do this as Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman did. Harry Reid created this environment of people “getting what they want” and we honestly can’t blame any other member of Congress for trying.
So I stand at the position right now of getting this bill to pass the Senate then letting it get improved in conference. If it doesn’t and the bill end up dying there, then that’s the price we pay. No one said the system is perfect, but I would not blame people like John Conyers or Louise Slaughter for killing the bill, when we had some Senators doing the exact same thing. As John Conyers said in his statement:
Lastly, I am troubled that some Senators believe that the House must accept the majority of the concessions embodied in this Senate bill. My message to the these Senators is this: Just as it took compromise to pass your bill last night, so now will it require additional compromise to successfully reconcile your legislation with the House. The Constitution established a bicameral legislature so that neither body would dominate the other.
No truer words can be spoken. Let’s let the process work and see what happens.