Rob Kall: House Passes Weak Public Option Health Care Bill

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Richard Moore

Nov 8, 2009, 2:29:20 PM11/8/09

House Passes Weak Public Option Health Care Bill, Selling Out Women's Rights. Includes Democrats Who Voted Against Bill

Giving a $1.2 trillion gift to the health insurance industry, betraying women's rights, the House gave the White House what it wanted. The question is, will the Democrats wake up with a hangover in 2010, facing a public enraged that the bill has strengthened the very industry that is causing economic pain to families, death to tens of thousands annually and damage to our nation's industries' ability to compete.
For OpEdNews: Rob Kall - Writer

The house passed a health care reform bill with a price tag of about $1.2 trillion dollars, with abortion gutted out of it by Bluedog Dems. 

This is a betrayal of women-- the vast majority of constituents who elected the Democrats who passed this bill. It is a betrayal of those who expected real change, since it is a weakened public option-- weakened at the behest of the White House. One low odds hope would be that Obama will issue a signing statement, in some way neutralizing the anti-abortion part of the bill. Though highly unlikely, it would be interesting to see if the president would use the power of the signing statement for a liberal cause, and how Congress would respond to it, compared to the thousands of signing statements Bush signed, with no response from Congress.

Dennis Kucinich, who voted against the bill, explained "Why I Voted NO". 
“We have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices only within the current structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance system which makes money not providing health care. We cannot fault the insurance companies for being what they are. But we can fault legislation in which the government incentivizes the perpetuation, indeed the strengthening, of the for-profit health insurance industry, the very source of the problem. When health insurance companies deny care or raise premiums, co-pays and deductibles they are simply trying to make a profit. That is our system.

“Clearly, the insurance companies are the problem, not the solution. They are driving up the cost of health care. Because their massive bureaucracy avoids paying bills so effectively, they force hospitals and doctors to hire their own bureaucracy to fight the insurance companies to avoid getting stuck with an unfair share of the bills. The result is that since 1970, the number of physicians has increased by less than 200% while the number of administrators has increased by 3000%. It is no wonder that 31 cents of every health care dollar goes to administrative costs, not toward providing care. Even those with insurance are at risk. The single biggest cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. is health insurance policies that do not cover you when you get sick. 

But instead of working toward the elimination of for-profit insurance, H.R. 3962 would put the government in the role of accelerating the privatization of health care. In H.R. 3962, the government is requiring at least 21 million Americans to buy private health insurance from the very industry that causes costs to be so high, which will result in at least $70 billion in new annual revenue, much of which is coming from taxpayers. This inevitably will lead to even more costs, more subsidies, and higher profits for insurance companies — a bailout under a blue cross.

One Republican, Joseph Cao of Louisiana, voted for the bill, making it bi-partisan. He commented,“Tonight, I voted to keep taxpayer dollars from funding abortion and to deliver access to affordable health care to the people of Louisiana. His vote will make it very difficult for Louisiana Senator Mary Landreiu, one of the wavering senators, to allow the Republicans to filibuster in the Senate.

As Wendell Potter has repeatedly said, this bill is a gift to the insurance companies. The Democrats celebrated last night, but that celebration may be short lived as voters learn how little they got and how much the health insurers gained. 

As far as women are concerned, this vote is a huge betrayal and perhaps the greatest success the pro-life anti-abortion movement has achieved in decades. Michelle Davis commented, "
The unfortunate part if all this is the economic discrimination. People with resources have a choice while people without resources have to have children. Then they will be judged for not being able to care for them."

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