If the debate over health care reform has shown us anything, it’s that the desires of the voters, no matter how strongly felt, can be distorted or drowned out by very big spenders, the extremely profitable health insurance industry. As you may remember, when discussion of health care reform began early this year, three out of every four people were in favor of it. Today, the polls show that less than 50 percent support it.
Why the decline? Well, the insurers have been willing to spend an average of $1 million to $2 million per day to torpedo reform, not by clarifying the issue, but by distorting the facts or putting forward outright lies through their well-compensated supporters — “death panels,” anyone! Seeding the controversy with personal hate-mongering aimed at President Obama and with paid organizers, they have propagandized a sufficient number of well-intentioned people — particularly the elderly — that reform will somehow hurt them.
Simultaneously, the approach to Congress of these anti-reform interests has been to slow
everything down by delaying the process and proposing endless amendments (despite the fact that they plan to vote “no” whether or not their amendments are adopted). Further, some of these amendments are designed to foster divisiveness, in order to further splinter support. Finally, the opposition senators have made clear that they will use every tool at their command to not even let the Senate bill get to the floor for discussion. In short, the ultimate obstructionist approach — the Senate can’t even discuss it.
Against this backdrop of lobbyist pressure, lies, distortions and outright bribery in the form of campaign donations, I, as an independent, am very thankful to our Congresswoman Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick for having the fortitude and integrity to vote for House Bill 3962 and for explaining the rationale behind her vote (check out the press release on her Web site).
Health care reform legislation has a long gauntlet to run and hopefully it will be markedly improved by that process, but above all, we need honest and open discussion to get it right: to expand access, stop denials or price gouging based on “pre-existing conditions,” create competition where only oligopolies currently exist, and stop arbitrary termination of coverage just
when people need it most.
Again, my sincere thanks to Rep. Kirkpatrick for her vote and her service to this very diverse district.