What ARE We Fighting For?
EDIT TO ILLUSTRATE MY POINT MORE CLEARLY:
If we oppose the public option, if we feel the current bills are so bad that it's better to have no bill at all, how are we different from the Fox fanbase and the Limbaugh Nation? We're not. We're saying the same thing they are, even if we think we're saying it for different reasons. We're out to make sure nobody's situation's any better in the future, for fear our own won't be the best it can be. What makes me say this?
Today's NYT profiles a couple, just too young for Medicare, who listen to Limbaugh and Fox and read Drudge. Not too surprisingly, they want their Representative to vote against the health care reform bill currently before Congress. They think people like themselves -- dependent on insurer-provided coverage and stuck with a $63,000 bill after their insurer determined breast-cancer therapy the wife underwent was experimental -- will be forced onto waiting lists, and denied care, if the bill passes.
What prompted the Colliers to attend a Congressional district meeting for the first time was an almost solemn sense of the magnitude of the health care issue, and its place in determining the scope of American government.
“We both think this is the most important thing we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes,” Mr. Collier said the next day in an interview at his family’s four-bedroom house, overlooking a fishing pond. “I mean, the Vietnam War, which was a big deal in my early formative years, pales in comparison to the way this thing could turn our country.”
“I know we need some reform,” he said, in a deliberative drawl. “I’ve just got questions about how we’re going to do it.”
Ms. Collier, 60, an interior designer, said she had wanted Mr. Bishop, a soft-spoken centrist Democrat who has yet to take a formal position on the legislation, to understand that there were deep concerns.
“I wanted to make sure we were represented,” she said.
The Colliers are committed conservatives who have voted Republican in presidential elections since 1980. They receive much of their information from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh’s radio program and Matt Drudge’s Web site. But they said their direct experience with the health care system had persuaded them of the need for change.
When Ms. Collier’s breast cancer was diagnosed three years ago, Mr. Collier’s employer-provided insurance paid for her office visits, a biopsy and three surgeries. But the insurer covered only a small fraction of her radiation treatments, which it considered experimental, leaving the Colliers with a $63,000 bill. To their great relief, the charge was later written off by Emory Healthcare, whose doctors had recommended the regimen.
How in the world can anyone support such a system? Had not Emory Healthcare, the PROVIDER, written off the cost of the care, how would this couple pay that bill?
Oh, wait ...
There must be a safety net, this man who's held the same job for 39 years says, but it mustn't be too broad. He and his wife shouldn't be able to use it, for instance, perhaps.
Mr. Collier’s employer, Buccaneer Inc., which is based in Atlanta, pays 100 percent of his health premiums but requires $509 a month to cover his wife. That cost has been escalating by at least 15 percent a year, and the couple’s deductibles have quadrupled.
Furthermore, Mr. Collier recognizes that were he to lose the job he has held for 39 years, his wife’s pre-existing condition might well make her uninsurable.
“We’ve got to do something about those people who can’t get insurance,” he said. “There has to be a safety net there. But I don’t want that safety net to catch too many people.”
Of course, if the PROVIDERS weren't writing off huge bills that INSURERS DENY, and were instead receiving payment for all care given (albeit not at the inflated rates on original bills, perhaps, but at something like actual cost plus a living wage for those involved in the health care rather than in providing multimilllion-dollar packages to insurance company executives and bonuses for care denial to insurance employees) wouldn't that be better for the hospitals, the doctors, the nurses, and the scientists working on better ways to treat and cure disease?
Evidently not, and apparently the left and the right agree on this.
So what, exactly, ARE we fighting for?
I'd like to think we're fighting for something better for everybody.
I'd like to think we're fighting for a system where you're not an insurance slave.