After an interesting Facebook debate, a person who saw my comments contacted me about health care basics. I typed the following email to her, which is reproduced in full (minus a warning about the length). Others may find it useful, so I'm sharing it here.
as for health care, i can totally appreciate not being sure about what's what. the BIGGEST disappointment for me is that people can't have informed opinions b/c there are SO MANY LIES and myths out there. i have no problem with folks disagreeing, but disagree on what's true.
truth - we are experiencing huge deficits - a huge part of which are due to healthcare
truth - many people are denied coverage b/c of pre-existing conditions, or denied treatment b/c of any number of reasons (excuses)
truth - the House of Representatives has proposed a plan to reform healthcare
truth - the bill does NOT include a single payer option. single payer would be medicare for everyone, or a nationalized health system. non-partisan folks agree this would be the cheapest solution, but it is not currently under discussion. this is what many folks (esp conservatives) argue against, but it's not even suggested in the legislation!
truth - the bill PRESERVES the right of everyone to keep their private plans (although i personally can't understand why it's a good thing to have our health insurance run by folks whose most important goal (literally) is to make a profit. which leads to the problem of the 2nd truth above).
truth - the legislation includes things conservatives can be upset about - namely growing larger govt (a new govt agency!)
truth - the legislation is focused primarily on a public option. a public option is a govt run insurance plan not unlike medicare or the VA. folks could CHOOSE between the govt option or their private insurance. conservatives who understand this point argue that private companies wouldn't be able to compete. that makes no sense. we have public and private universities, public and private ways to ship packages, public and private health care clinics, etc. this argument (that private companies would go out of business) is not borne out by the facts.
truth - i have read the first two sections of the bill and the truths i listed above are clearly specified in it. if you were to just read the table of contents (really) you would be amazed at how much more you'd know about the legislation without reading all 1000 pages. you would also realize how silly some of the arguments are.
truth - there are panels and commissions in the bill, but none of them are death panels. and in fact, end of life counseling is a non-partisan suggestion that has been proven to reduce costs, help family in times of sorrow and sadness, etc. end of life care is NOT mandated in the bill although it is mentioned as something that should be offered and reimbursed.
truth - all health care plans will include a minimum "essential benefits package" that EVERYONE must be able to get. it includes things like hospitalization, baby wellness care, preventative support, etc.
truth - the bill makes is EXCEPTIONALLY hard for any insurance companies to drop people who have paid their premiums
truth - under proposals currently being floated ALL people will be required to have some form of insurance (like all drivers must have car insurance). this is to spread the risk around. b/c if you have to cover everyone, some people will cost more money, and some will cost less (b/c of cancer, etc.). if people only got insurance once they got sick, it really WOULD be unfair to insurers, who would have to pay primarily for unhealthy people.
people with low/no incomes will have options as they do now (i don't know what those are as i don't qualify). and babies born with no insurance will automatically be enrolled in a plan. no baby left behind!
opinion - this (HR 3200) is a civil rights bill. it regulates the insurance industry and protects citizens, and it makes me sad some folks oppose it.
*truth - there is no senate version of the bill yet, and it is unsure if their version would include a public option or not. it's pretty split in the senate. [see clarification below]
i have not blogged about healthcare, though i should b/c i get so into it (as you can see). here are some links:
- http://TwitPWR.com/pgu/ Bill Moyers interview with former Cigna VP of PR (MUST SEE)
- http://bit.ly/LQGIp Paul Krugman, nobel prize economist's op-ed
- http://bit.ly/g00Df Sicko - Michael Moore's movie
- http://bit.ly/ad8Zk House Bill 3200
so obviously you can see what side i'm on. and interestingly, i don't have an opinion for the BEST way to do it. i just believe that SOMETHING has to be done and the suggestions put forth so far make the most sense. i'm waiting on a conservative to say how to revamp the whole healthcare system. cuz right now all they say is they don't wanna spend their taxes to help others. which makes no sense (firefighters are govt workers for instance. you hope they are never coming to YOUR house, but your taxes pay for them to help others anyway...). i could go on and on, but this is already a multi-page essay. sorry about that.
you can follow me on twitter: @ndcollier
if you're not on twitter you can read my tweets at www.twitter.com/ndcollier I tweet a lot about a lot of things, but you can also see lots of my #HCR tweets.
hope this helps you get started at least. sorry so long!
*note: to clarify, there is a version of the bill in the Senate, but it has only passed one committee. the House bill is the completed version marked up by all relevant committees. we are still awaiting a more finalized version from the Senate. you can see the Senate's bill from the HELP committee by clicking here.