Thursday, October 1, 2009

One, Two Sucker Punch

Wow, Tuesday and Wednesday were bad days. Not only do governments and individuals have to deal with the pain and suffering that will no-doubt result from the natural disasters in the Pacific, but we're having our own problems here in the states. So many people had pinned their hopes that President Obama would be able to push through meaningful health care reform. We'll still get some kind of reform, but the Senate Finance Committee killed the public option, which would have been our best chance at getting affordable health care for millions of uninsured or underinsured Americans. I suppose that we're just supposed to take insurance companies at their word that they'll control prices. Many companies (ahem, Blue Cross Blue Shield and, ahem, Humana) have near monopolies in their respective markets. I thought that conservatives wanted competition in the marketplace...apparently that was an incorrect assumption.

That was the first punch. Then, not only did the Finance Committee strip away the meaningful and necessary public option, they also re-instated $50 million for unscientific and absolutely ineffective abstinence-only education. That, at least, came to a closer vote of 12-11 with all Republicans and three Democrats voting to include funding for the religious programs masquerading as sex education.

So much of what's going on in Washington is getting to me. Did or did not President Obama win by a veritable landslide? My memory recalls a nation with states that had historically voted red for generations switch to blue on the promise of progressive reform. Now, Democrats are playing chicken and the Republicans do everything they can to obstruct every conceivable piece of the President's goals. We didn't have the hemming and hawing in trying to decide whether or not to go into the Iraq debacle. We undertook that fallacious journey with great gusto and yet the the government can't get behind providing health care for our society's most needy! We marched merrily along to destroy life but can't bring ourselves to save it.

Some hope remains. This bill that came out of the Finance Committee still has to pass the full Senate. I hope beyond all hope that clear-thinking minds will prevail and that this legislation will find itself back in committee with its strength reinstated to provide real comprehensive education to our nation's children and supply the basic human right of health care to each American citizen.

In the meantime, to help you feel a little better about all of this, I encourage you to watch this little video. It's not funny, though, if you think about it because it does seem that there are some men and women in Washington who are more concerned with insurance executives' salaries than health care for all Americans.

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