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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/2/09

'Bipartisan': Democratic cowardice, Republican obstructionist

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P. A. Triot
Message P. A. Triot

    Anyone who thinks that Democrats in the U. S. Senate are honorably seeking a bipartisan solution to the nation's health care crisis needs to have his or her head examined.

Senate Democrats are simply hiding behind the word "bipartisan" to mask their own cowardice.

They do that knowing full well that Republicans use "bipartisan" as a tool to obstruct the will of the American people.

When asked by Norah O'Donnell of MSNBC on June 25 "what needs to be in" a health care bill "for it to be bipartisan," Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) responded, "We need to make sure that there is no public option."

Last week a CBS-Wall Street Journal poll showed that some 72 percent of all Americans want a strong public option. That is a consensus if I ever saw one.

A majority of the American public wants a single-payer system.

Democrats need to realize that this single-payer/public-option issue is not like most other issues. This issue simply will not recede from public discourse.

No army in history (nor health insurance company nor pharmaceutical company) can defeat an idea whose time has come. (My apologies to Victor Hugo.)

Throwing away a trillion dollars can be forgotten and politically obfuscated, but legitimate, affordable health care that affects every citizen and every voter cannot.

Let's face it, private health insurance companies have failed miserably at providing anything close to quality health care.

Not only are there millions more people uninsured than were uninsured just a few years ago, but more and more people who have health insurance are finding that insurance does not cover what they were led to believe.

Virtually no private insurance companies will cover what they call pre-existing conditions, which more than likely throws those consumers into the pool of the uninsured.

Employers (through whom most people get health insurance) are finding that insurance costs are rising some 20 percent a year and passing the increases along to the employees in the form of higher premiums, higher deductibles and higher co-payments for prescriptions, doctor visits and hospitalizations.

It is time for private-sector health care insurance companies to show that they can deliver appropriate health care at all. The burden of proof is on the private sector. Those companies need to prove they can provide an acceptable quality of health care at a fair price.

We know a single-payer system can work in America. We already have Medicare and Medicaid, which each could work well if only they weren't screwed up by politicians doing the bidding of private health insurance and pharmaceutical companies. We also have the best health care provider in the country--the Department of Veterans Affairs--as a model.

All industrialized countries in the world, with the exception of the United States, have some sort of government-regulated or government-provided health care. And all of those countries provide better care for their citizens than our country does.

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P. A. Triot is the pen name of a retired journalist.
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