Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Republicans don't understand freedom

If conservatives want to make the on-going health care debate an issue about Americans’ freedom, Democrats need to say, “Bring it on.”

Many Americans who are struggling under the inequities of our current health care system would love to be free from medical bankruptcy and from suffering without being able to afford medical care. Some dream of the freedom to start a new business or a family, or to change jobs without worrying about how they would be able to afford health insurance in those new situations. Americans desire the freedom that comes with knowing that we will be cared for if our health changes for the worst.

We all want the peace of mind that comes with not having to worry about the “what ifs.” “What if I have an accident?” “What if my cancer comes back?” “What if they raise my premiums again?”

Where’s the so-called “freedom” in our current system? What’s free about being limited to the health care providers that are listed in your insurance plan? What’s free about paying large yearly rate increases at the same time your coverage is shrinking? How free do you feel when you lose your insurance coverage when a serious health issue arises? How about when you are on the phone with your medical insurer trying to understand why they have denied your claim?

This sounds like freedom from feeling secure to me.

Conservatives don’t have a copyright on the word “freedom,” and they obviously don’t know what it means, yet still, during the debate over health care reform, they have successfully tied “freedom” to another concept that they use to their advantage, fear. As President Obama stated in his Congressional address on Wednesday night:
But we also know that there are those who will try and scuttle this opportunity no matter what – who will use the same scare tactics and fear-mongering that's worked in the past. They'll give dire warnings about socialized medicine and government takeovers; long lines and rationed care; decisions made by bureaucrats and not doctors.
We don’t want the conservative version of freedom and we won’t succumb to their attempts to incite fear.

Americans will have real health freedom when they can choose between many affordable insurance plans, including a government option, that guarantee them continual coverage and quality care from the doctor of their choice. Let your representatives in Congress know that this is what you want them to create, pass and deliver to President Obama for his signature.

It's time to stop being afraid.


Blogger David said...

I agree that freedom is the solution to our health care problems. I disagree that more federal control equates with freedom. Nor do I believe any of the promises of these politicians. They have bankrupted medicare, medicaid, social security, Amtrak, the post office, you name it. They have a terrible track record and have racked up over 11 trillion dollars in debt in the process.

Government control is a major reason why health care costs continue to climb. Year after year politicians place new mandates on insurance policies, requiring certain new service be included. The insurance industry loves it because it forces people to purchase more insurance than they need. This of course drives up insurance prices and consumers are stuck with higher premiums. According to the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, these mandates account for 20 to 50% of our premiums (depending upon which state you are in).

Reducing these mandates and giving people more freedom, meaning more control over their insurance policies is a simpler, cheaper, and more viable solution for the long run in my opinion.

September 11, 2009 4:36 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

The Council for Affordable Health Insurance is a research and lobbying association made up primarily of insurance companies. Their conclusions should be suspect because of the enormous profits they make under our current system which they could stand to lose if the system is made more fair through health care reform.

The federal government has a great track record in providing services to Americans. Ask anyone on Medicare if they are happy with their government-run health care plan.

You can thank the instigators of the Iraq War and tax-cuts for the rich for our large public debt, most of which was racked up under President George W. Bush.

September 14, 2009 12:58 PM  
Blogger David said...

I guess if I had to choose who to trust between insurance businesses that make profits and politicians with over 11 trillion dollars of debt, I'd have to go with the insurance companies. Plus the claims by CAHI and NAHU make sense. If politicians force me to pay for insurance coverages I don't need, it's going to drive up my premiums. I don't need in vitro fertilization and yet I'm forced to pay for it in my insurance plan by politicians. In the 1960s there were only a handful of such mandates nation wide, today there are over 2,000. Somebody has to pay for it, and it is always the consumer in the end.

I disagree that the government has a great track record. Katrina? The Iraq war? The postal system? Medicare is going bankrupt. Medicaid is going bankrupt. Social security is going bankrupt. Everything they touch withers on the vine. They are well intentioned some of them, but there are too many greedy politicians and businesses who manipulate the system into something which benefits themselves more than the consumer. For long term solutions we need to remove the complex system and return choice to consumers. Freedom is the solution.

I agree that President Bush spent way too much money. And so far President Obama has been even worse! The debt this country has is quickly spiraling out of control. We can't sustain this forever.

September 14, 2009 6:21 PM  

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