The healthcare debate in Congress is really heating up. Final versions in the House and Senate are getting close to a vote. The Senate Democratic Caucus now claims a super majority to kill any possibility of a Republican filibuster. Meanwhile, what about the issue here at home? Is healthcare a "right" of every American?
Does one have to be 65 years of age or older to get health coverage at a reasonable cost through Medicare? Or must you be a member of the Armed Forces, performing active duty? Or be a Member of the U.S. Congress? Or one of a million plus federal employees? Or a dependent of these government employees?
The Health Insurance Industry has spent substantial dollars to support the election campaigns of strategic senators and representatives in this healthcare debate. It is not only a matter of Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative, Compassionate or Cold-hearted.
Today an entire insurance industry feels threatened by President Obama’s insistence on healthcare reform this year. The Health Insurance Industry simply is selling us a product that we can do without - when everybody has healthcare coverage like the above cohorts - old geezers, our troops, all the feds, their spouses and kids.
The president wants a bill on his desk, this year, that provides a government alternative kind of healthcare coverage. You can keep paying for a current health insurance plan if you have one. You can keep seeing your same doctors. But you can also buy coverage under his bill into a basic doctor and hospital schedule of benefits. And with his reform, no one can be refused care because of a pre-existing condition.
I think this sounds pretty good. I think we should also provide retraining for all health insurance industry employees who lose jobs - just like we should for the unemployed auto workers, auto salesmen, and recession sufferers, generally.
I will pay the needed tax increases. After all, I received a four-year Navy college scholarship before serving 17 years in the Navy. Two of our three babies were born on or near Naval Air Stations. My wisdom teeth were extracted by a navy dentist. Flight surgeons provided us with excellent care for personnel aboard ship and for our families back on the beach.
An old classmate of mine, from grade school through university, grouses about the possibility of Obama's "Socialized Medicine." This retiree, like me, is on Medicare now and deposits his Social Security check every month. He inspires me to call the new 2009 healthcare legislation "Everybody's Medicine."