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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/5/10

Healthcare Reform? What Do You Care?

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Message Lani Massey Brown
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Senator Tom Coburn said healthcare reform should include undercover investigations of Medicare and Medicaid. Senator John Barrasso wants health savings accounts. Senator Charles Grassley wants increasing reimbursements to Medicaid providers. Then when President Obama says he's open to these ideas, Coburn backpedals. Uh, uh, I mean, uh, "That's just one thing." Uh, uh. "We need to start over." Not singling Coburn out here. He's simply following the automaton lead of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner's drum beat, "Scrap it. Scrap it. Start over. Scrap it."

Does anyone believe scrapping a design, any design will produce better results? Does anyone believe starting over on health care reform will produce better results either, let alone bipartisan cooperation? If you just give me your lunch money, then we'll all play nice in your sandbox. I promise.


What do you want? Here's the reality.


If you're that one lucky guy in your neighborhood who retired from the rare company still offering retirement plans with health benefits, then healthcare reform may seem like just another ploy for big government to sock it to you by raising your taxes. You're doing just fine, thank you very much. And the government should stay out of your life and out of your wallet.


If you're on MEDICARE, you don't need to worry about your health insurance company dumping you. And you'll never face losing your home when your health takes a nosedive.


If you're RETIRED MILITARY, you don't feel the pain . . . or risks of forfeiting your prescription medicines so you can buy groceries for your kids . . . or yourself. After all, you pay a whopping $3 for your generic prescriptions, $9 for brand names. So what's the problem? $1991.40. That's the yearly "civilian" cost of that cholesterol medicine you take for warding off heart disease or a stroke. Even those with health insurance can pay $50 and more for just a month of that one medicine alone. Tag on a couple of other necessary prescriptions and the choice between quality of living over quality of health become more dire.


If you're EMPLOYED by a company that offers healthcare benefits, you may pay as little as $100 to $300 a month for health insurance. You may not even know of the full cost of your insurance, $1350 +/- for family coverage because your company picks up 80% of the tab on your behalf. Or the amount they would have to pay if they were a smaller company with fewer employees or if they didn't belong to an insurance buying group.


If you're a healthy EMPTY NESTER, you won't feel the pinch of another $1535.88 and counting. That's the cost for a year's supply of just one of several necessary medicines that may prevent your child from being rushed to the emergency room in the middle of the night again because asthma is sucking the life out of him.


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Author of A MARGIN OF ERROR: BALLOTS OF STRAW, featured in "Small Press Bookwatch" - Politics is a tough career, with more knives in (more...)

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