What I Didn’t Hear
Monday 24 January 2011
by: Alan Grayson, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
In the run-up to the Republican House vote to repeal health care reform, I listened to the "debate."
Admittedly, at a somewhat greater distance than last time. But with C-SPAN, four 24-hour news networks and the internet, it's not hard to follow what our elected representatives are saying.
Much like last time, the "debate" has seemed rather one-sided to me.
We still have more than 30 million Americans who cannot see a doctor when they are sick. According to this Harvard study, adjusting for gender, race, smoking, weight, and just about everything else that you can think of, in any given year, the uninsured are 40 percent more likely to die than the insured are. That results in 44,789 additional deaths in America each year. All of which are avoidable.
This is more than twice the number of homicides in America.
It is more than 10 times the number of deaths on 9/11. And it happens every year.
Do you think that we should solve this problem? I do.
And the Democratic Party does. Which is why we passed health care reform. And why we brought the wrath of lobbyists and their sewer money down on our heads in the last election -- more than $65 million by the Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's "American Crossroads" alone.
I see one party taking on the special interests and enacting laws to keep Americans alive, and assure that you can see a doctor when you are sick. Like in every other industrialized country in the world.
And the other party's health care plan? "Don't get sick." They keep pushing this ridiculous notion that people are uninsured because they don't want insurance, when polling has showed that up to 90 percent of the uninsured are uninsured because they can't afford insurance.
I have heard all of the other party's talking points about "tort reform" and interstate licensing of insurance companies. They want them because the lobbyists want them. They want tort reform because the insurance companies want tort reform. They want interstate licensing because the insurance companies want interstate licensing. If the insurance companies wanted a pony, the Republican leaders would try to give them a pony.
We have had "tort reform" in Florida for 12 years. And we have the second-highest percentage of the uninsured in the entire country. (Number one is Texas, which is the home of tort reform.) Despite the fact that every American senior has health coverage through Medicare, 20 percent of Floridians have no health insurance. Including 40 percent of Florida's Latinos.
We have 14 million officially unemployed Americans, and another 14 million who can work only part-time or have just given up. More than one million American families lost their homes last year. And yet the first order of business for the new Republican majority in the House is to see to it that 30 million Americans cannot see a doctor when they are sick. Even with cancer.
You can call me partisan, if you want. But I see one party's leadership trying hard to solve this nation's problems. And the other party's leadership showing its true colors. They are callous sellouts. Always have been, always will be.
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