Sunday, November 7, 2010

Making the Health Care Reform Legislation Work for all of us!

When you look at the best health care legislation passed in this country in the last half a century, you're probably looking at the result of hours of hard work and debate from the two aisle of congress. Never mind the bandwagon of 'born-again' Republicans bent on undoing the Affordable Health Care Legislation of 2010. The process of developing and passing the legislation went through groundwork and feedback by both Republicans and Democrats in the past congressional sessions; even though Republicans will continue to complain they were completely shut-out in the deliberations. The fact that Republicans abstained from supporting the health care reform legislation in the current congressional session has very little to do with the quality of the provisions of the legislation.

One of the real reasons why Republicans are at war with the legislation has very little to do with the cost, although Republicans want the whole nation to believe so. If you ask me, it has to do with pure politics. This nation and past congressional sessions with Republican majority have spent triple the amount set aside for implementing the health care reform package on wars. Despite the fact that the new law is going to help raise over twenty-eight billion dollars over a ten year scoring period, a targeted revenue to help offset the overall cost of the reform package. Republicans are still not satisfied; however, in consonant and collaboration with the military industrial complex they are willing to sacrifice or kill human beings with tax payers’ money.

Republicans are hardly interested in healing the sick and underprivileged amongst us, but are very ready to send them to war without the necessary ammunition to protect life. Republicans are unwilling to subscribe to a law that asks everyone to sacrifice a little to allow many to be covered under a health care insurance package that is paid for within the huge costs cuts that have been worked into the provision. Republicans have supported supplementary funding for the continuation of two wars that have mostly benefited their sponsors and supporters financially; yet, they are unwilling to subscribe to a law that extends the employer provided health insurance coverage to adult children of taxpayers under the age of 27 or dependent children up to the age of 26.

Now here is the part that makes you wonder why on earth are Republicans so disinterested in legislation that once, their senior members, mostly drafted in sessions that Republicans were in the congressional majority? The truth is Republicans are pretty smart in not wanting to give credit where credit is due. Democrats, under a majority in both congressional chambers and White house saw it fit to work proactively in the interest of ordinary Americans, to pass the health care law. Republicans abstained from ensuring that their voices are heard in the debates leading to the passing of the law. What Republicans offered as their contribution was the usual criticisms that gave no life to the legislation nor constructively offered reasonable changes that could make it palatable to their critical interests: their political war chest contributors.

One of the common criticisms of the legislation is that it compels Americans to buy health care insurance. As creative as this criticism is, Republican forgot that there is a trade-off to bring 44 million people into the fold of the insured. If we had failed in this trade-off, this same group would have continued seeking emergency care in the already overtaxed hospital emergency rooms all over the country. Americans, who do not carry health care insurance, continue to overburden hospital emergency rooms at the expense of everyone, including Republicans who criticize the new health care reform package. Short of covering the total cost of many of these free loaders on the system, the new health care law ensures that at least many of these Americans are able to buy a health care insurance policy, even though at a subsidy, and are able to share in part of the cost of care they have sought at no cost over the years. This does not seem to be a financial give away. When you hear Republicans label the Affordable health care reform law of 2010 as 'Socialistic Medicine' or 'Obama care', they are obviously engaging in deception or mischief. Who of those millionaires populating the Republican Party has offered to pay for the care of the millions that obviously could not pay for their health care cost, but overburden hospital emergency rooms? You are probably going to hear, the American Capitalism is everyone for himself or herself and God for us all. In one short sentence: who cares?

Well, in a representative Democracy, one which America has vowed to pursue and one that this nation has committed innocent lives and trillions of dollars in spreading all over the world, there is the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The last word in that maitre is happiness! How can anyone be happy with a health care system with a lopsided cost and burden to the public, yet denies access to 44 million Americans who will inform you that they had no alternative, but to seek emergency room care, that by law cannot be denied due to the nature of health care as a product. Many of the past customers of the hospital emergency rooms are documented as carrying no health insurance policy at the point of demand for health care service. The new law just allows these groups of people to participate and still pay some, unlike in the past.

If there are parts of the Affordable Health care Law that are imperfect; yes, let’s work on amending or improving them to be fairer to all, but not junking the whole law. If the objective of Republicans is to repeal the law as they have announced since their newly found majority, they sure got some new things coming. In Republicans new quest to discredit Democrats and the first African American President, the Republicans want to use the unfair political arrangement, one that is heavily stacked against minorities and the underprivileged, to advance their selfish interest of overturning a legitimate law. If this new pronouncement from Republicans is allowed unchecked, then we do not have a democracy. What we have is a killing field for the poor and underprivileged and a caviar table of all assortment of care that the rich can afford without batting an eye. What a Democracy this will be!

To create a health care system that is not wasteful and discriminatory against the poor and underprivileged, we cannot abrogate the 2010 Affordable Health Care Law. We can work to improve its provisions by amending or reordering some of its mandates; but, we cannot throw the baby with the bath away and think we are doing anyone any good. Yes, Republicans have been able to improve their fortunes in terms of representation in congress through the mercy of the extreme right in our society, however; that hardly gives them the right to destroy probably the best thing that has ever happened to America's Health Care System since Medicare.

The litany of the provisions of the health care package is indisputable. The Health Care Reform Law provides coverage for many Americans in high risk professions: $11,840 for individual and $30,950 for family coverage; with Non Medicare retires in the age group of 55+ being offered a policy at a higher premium threshold. The latter group being amongst the category of America's emergency room repeat visitors, because of their vulnerability, including the inability to pay for insurance coverage and institutional racism or class-ism. If we return back to the old status quo as fanned over the airwaves by Republicans since the November election victory, we are saying these groups of high risk under-insured or uninsured are not worthy of any coverage and should be excluded. If we exclude them and these people continue not to carry health insurance, they will still continue to overwhelm our limited hospital emergency rooms.

The health care reform law provides adjustments to policy with higher premium costs based on participants’ age and or gender. When a 45 year old is covered under an employer provided policy covering major medical service in excess of say a value of $40,000, there are some tax benefits for the employer. The $40,000 family insurance coverage is subject to excise tax in the amount of $10,270.28; a threshold that is hardly overburdening to the employer or employee. The employer is able to report $10,270.28 as taxable to the insurer on the W2 form and the money is paid to the IRS. Since Republicans are first to fight against taxation and their benefactor in the last election are so 'taxed enough already' obviously, there is a room here for their bro-ha-ha! This complaint however does not prevent Americans in need of health care, flocking to the emergency rooms to seek care. In addition, this arrangement makes a mockery of all the effort Obama's Presidency has devoted its time in the past two years.

The 2010 Affordable Health Care Law demands that businesses report general transactions greater than six hundred dollars to the IRS during a year to corporate and non-corporate providers. This seems very logical as we are all attempting to go paperless; therefore the complaint that this requirement will overburden providers and business with paperwork is hardly tenable. Computer use generate less paper work and no business will deny in this age that it has not made payment online or received payment from same source likewise.

For the 'tea party' faction in the Republican party, who are so much against any more taxes, anymore government in our business, and any more regulation to allow for a level playing field for all, the reporting of employer-provided health insurance on W2 is not just acceptable; neither is the annual nondeductible fees on pharmaceutical manufactures and importers plus health insurance providers, tenable. However, none of them will ever deny that they had no clue as to what to do when the economy tanked at the latter end of Bush's Administration. For them, the delayed implementation of excise tax from 2013 to 2018 in the health care reform package, to give time for implementation and realization of cost savings, is a tongue in the chick. Hardly will they appreciate the redistribution of annual fees for pharmaceutical and drug importing firms; or the imposition of 10% on qualified indoor tanning services, being part of the necessary reform to the health care system. What these people must however realize is that we are all in this huge boat and it is leaking good people into the ocean of grief because they cannot afford to carry health care insurance; a convoluted misfortune that we will have to pay for in the long run.

Post a Comment