It seems to be almost certain that the plan that will come out of Congress will be significantly watered down from what it should be. And why is this happening?
In the Senate, in an attempt to “woo” a couple of Republican Senators, the employer mandate and public option have already bitten the dust! Who cares about a couple of Republican votes in an attempt to look bi-partisan? For once, it would be nice if the needs of the people who will benefit from a significant change in health care policy are considered. And they should be considered ahead of the wants of three Republican Senators, or heavily financed efforts by the American Hospital Association and various medical groups. The proposed “compromise” of non-profit cooperatives has already been proven not to work well. There's one in Seattle whose premiums have risen 12% a year since it started! Is that the kind of reform we want?
And why not tax the very wealthy to help pay for this? They've been getting unnecessary tax breaks for too long, at the expense of someone else. And if the wealthy choose to purchase a “blue plate” plan that costs $30,000, or a company purchases it for them, why shouldn't the excess amount over a “normal” policy be taxable? Our representatives are afraid to do what's right in an election year because they are afraid of losing the financial support of the big companies, industry PACs and lobbyists who help them get elected.
And while our representatives in Washington scuttle all the good ideas on this issue, I wonder how they would be if they had health care problems without their “blue plate” coverage?
Before the Congress goes on an undeserved vacation, they should do what need to be done and pass a meaningful healthcare bill! In what other setting would people be allowed to take an extended vacation when there is important work to be done? I think our congressmen have conveniently forgotten that they work for us. It's time to remind them!
Michael L. Zimmer
Framingham, Mass.Senior manager, healthcare financeThe Hutton Group