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Kay’s Blog, 7/13/2012: State Senators and Gibson on Healthcare

I found myself reading Parry Tesdale’s 7/13/12 editorial (www.columbiapaper.com) about the strange “newsless visit” by two NY state Senators to Columbia Memorial hospital earlier this week. It reminded me that the NY State Senate refused to allow any establishment of even a planning structure to develop the State Insurance Exchanges called for by the Affordable Care Act, now known as “Obamacare”. The Republican majority blocked any steps to be taken, hoping that the Supreme Court would bring down the whole law, and thus make that effort unnecessary.  Governor Cuomo, choosing not to negotiate on this issue, sidestepped the Legislature and created by executive order a committee within the Health Department to begin work on the mighty task of setting up the Insurance Exchange. Here is the webpage, if you are interested to see what’s going on.: www.healthcarereform.ny.gov/  It looks good and the most recent post is 6/28/12, which I believe is the date the Supreme Court made its ruling.  I’ll post more informaion about the Exchanges another day.

But back to the Senators, who have blocked every effort to extend insurance to the un-insured or the underinsured.  What part will they play in passing any legislation needed to implement the Insurance Exchanges?  Are they concerned with the public interest?  Will they allow a strong “conflict of Interest” enforcement?  Will they make sure consumer and patient interests are considered? Whose pockets will they be looking after?  What Insurance Companies donate to them? Think about that when you vote for state Senator this November.  (Hint: Vote for Robin Andrews! 43rd District)

And we turn to Representative Chris Gibson, who voted, lockstep, to once again (fruitlessly for the 33rd time) “Repeal Obamacare”. Gibson has shown once again that he is  out of step with History. The United States has finally made a move to put itself among the group of governments that recognizes the human right to healthcare.  It’s a small step, but in this country it is a big one.  Gibson, of course has been the beneficiary of Government run healthcare while he is in the military and now that he is in the Congress.  Nice for him, and his family.  He’s entitled to some good things, the right to excellent care.  And so is the rest of the public in this country. And yet the Republican Congressional majority will try to cut funding for every element within the legislation to inhibit the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Every additional right or level of protection that is included in the Affordable Care Act has met with open arms by the public.  The public will fight to keep all of the guarantees that increases individual and family wellbeing.  They may grumble about the “Government takeover” of healthcare, because that’s what the Republican noise machine has been drumming into their ears, but when faced with giving up on the features they like of the ACA that they now or will enjoy, they say No! emphatically.  We want that!  Don’t take away that part!

If they gained the power to “Repeal…”, what would the Republicans actually do?  The empty rhetoric of the Republicans often includes the words  “…and Replace”.  But they have no plan at all.  The plan they had: Ryan’s Vouchers for Medicare, has been tucked away until the election is over.  They’ re faced with a great desire by the public, even fellow Republicans, to save all the good parts of the ACA, but to do sway with the “scary parts”.

But as Mitt Romney, has said, a mandate to pay is the only way to “keep the Freeloaders from paying nothing” while the cost falls on those who are insured.  The plan now known as Obamacare is the only plan that results in reducing the deficit by the non-partisan OBM, yet the lie that it will be more costly than what we have now is still parroted by the Republicans.  Gibson says the “marketplace” can solve the problem of the uninsured. What claptrap!  It is the marketplace that has denied insurance to millions because of anything they can identify s “precondition”, that has cut off payments to the very sick, that has made a practice of “deny coverage first, and see how many claims go away”.  Unregulated competition for health insurance results in cherrypicking only the healthiest ( and richest) for coverage.  That’s how profits are made. The Republicans have no way to provide the “good parts” of Obamacare in the free market.  And they are against regulations (except in the case of abortion or contraception). By moving so strongly against Obamacare Chris Gibson is harming the interest of the vast majority of residents in his district.

Take a look at your own interest. Are you insured? You can keep it, and have the additional guarantees you’ve heard about.  Not insured? You will be able to get affordable insurance or, if your income warrants it, a subsidy to help pay for it.  Your employer may be encouraged to purchase affordable health insurance from the NY State Insurance exchanges. Your insurance won’t be dependent on the generosity of your employer; you will have a choice.

I am very happy that the ACA has acquired the name OBAMACARE, because it has the potential to become as beloved as “Medicare” in the hearts of millions of Americans.

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