Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No Public Option

The Senate Finance Committee excludes a public option. This really is no surprise. We know that Baucus is in the pockets of insurance companies instead of his constituents, as are many other politicians. It is also blatently apparent that the entire Republican party is united to prevent the Obama administration from accomplishing anything good for America. The Republicans want the Obama administration to fail at improving our country and serving its citizens, just so the Republicans can cite the failure while campaigning for the next elections.

What can we do?
Well, we obviously need some campaign finance reform, for starters. There is an organization working to accomplish this goal. Change-Congress.org, organized by the illustrious Lawrence Lessig, fights against the sway that special interest groups (insurance companies) have over our government. When there is more of an incentive for politicians to work for their constituents, and less of an incentive for them to pander to money-grubbing companies, we will see policy decisions that are better for this country.

Did we need a public option?
Well, the CBO says that various plans proposed would cut the US deficit by tens of billions of dollars over the next ten years, while providing health care to tens of millions of American citizens who currently have no insurance. I've seen other organizations estimate that the deficit would drop by even more, since the CBO did not look at every related variable. There are different plans, though, and different ideas of what the public option would look like. So, there are proposals that include public options that would help many Americans and save our country money, which are both outcomes we need. There are other ways to get these outcomes, such as a single-payer system (HR676, Medicare for All, has hardly been mentioned) or extremely tight regulation on insurance companies, but a public option was the most likely to make it through congress. It just isn't likely enough.

I am confident saying that any politician currently opposing/stalling efforts to increase the government's involvement in health care, either through a public option, marketplace, expanding Medicare, or more strictly controlling private insurance companies, is motivated only by the drive for personal power. These politicians enjoy their campaign contributions and visits from lobbyists, and the Republicans know that sticking with the party line ensures they will keep getting support in future elections. The politicians who are fighting for the health of our citizens are the ones who care about their constituents.

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