Home > Choices > Watching the healthcare reform floor debate

Watching the healthcare reform floor debate

Here are some oft-repeated objections I truly don’t understand.  Some are because of a difference in the facts I’ve read and the opposition cites, but many of the issues are rooted in a very, very different way of looking at the world.  I typed up this list while watching the floor debate so that I stopped yelling at the TV and risking waking up my roommate.

Americans don’t want government telling them what to do with their healthcare…except perhaps the ones who don’t have any?

This bill doesn’t fix the system – it adds 32 million people to a broken system. To me, this seems like an argument arguing for a single-payer system, not a Republican argument against the reform.

This bill is an example of the Democrats march towards communism…and totalitarianism…and a socialist utopia. Who knew that the Democrats were all of these things?  Or that all of these types of government could coexist?

Americans don’t want federal subsidies of insurance plans that pay for abortions. That’s fine, but Americans already subsidize insurance plans that pay for abortions through the tax breaks for company plans.

Our job is to care for the interests of our children. The Republicans, I assume, are talking about financial interests (because they surely can’t be talking about health interests).  But even if they’re talking about financial interests, how do they see the status quo as protecting our financial interests when so many families go broke trying to pay for uncovered care?

The American people have spoken and they have said they want us to start over.  They want a bill that costs less and improves the care they receive. First, let me say that the American People, especially as viewed through polls alone, are often short-sighted.  They’re in favor of a lot of things – but usually just the easy things.  They want lower taxes and more services.  More protections, but less government intrusion.  I am, in the end, deeply suspicious of direct democracy and governing solely by the will of the people.  Sometimes in a representative democracy the highest responsibility of a leader is to vote for the common good rather than being informed only by the opinions of The People.

We can’t afford to be passing this healthcare bill when millions of Americans have lost their jobs and haven’t been able to find new ones. A fair point, except those same Americans are most likely without healthcare coverage right now.

This debate is about who will control our healthcare decisions.  We will wake up to find that our loved ones will wait months to see a mediocre doctor, only to be told that he cannot treat them because his treatments must conform to government mandates. It’s quite a picture, but I feel pretty confident that it’s a delusional one.  This bill does not make government the provider of healthcare for most Americans (that was deemed far too liberal/socialist), nor does it do anything that should drive down the quality of doctor preparation in America.  And it’s interesting that the Republicans’ typical family always has insurance, and a doctor relationship, that is under threat.  What about the families who have neither?  What about the families who already wake up without access to doctors or without access to procedures, because they have neither money nor insurance?  And what about constituents who currently have healthcare, but are in HMOs in which their choice of doctors is limited, their access to specialists is limited, and each procedure must be approved by the insurance company?  How is that status quo more in favor of freedom than the current reform?

In fact, when it comes down to it the biggest difference between the Democrats and Republicans is that the Democrats see the uninsured and underinsured as the norm and the Republicans see the comfortably insured as the norm.  They can’t really argue effectively with one another when they come from these different norms because the needs, fears, and desires of these groups are so different.  Rep. Paul Ryan calls the bill paternalistic and condescending, the Democrats call it protecting Americans from the abuse of large corporations.  Those are drastically different world views, assuming drastically different possibilities for individuals to change their lives on their own.  In thinking about it, I believe this cuts to the heart of why I am a Democrat.

We’re breaking with the tradition of personal responsibility in this bill. How exactly can someone who is denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition be expected to exercise their personal responsibility in this situation?

The American people want to face our challenges with healthcare with more freedom, not more government control. Freedom to…die?  To go into bankruptcy?  I’m not sure how freedom is going to solve the issues with healthcare.

Stand for freedom and the American people will stand with you. Except the ones who are sick and can’t afford treatment.

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