Friday, August 7, 2009

The Dangers of Being Unemployed

There are many dangers to being unemployed - not having enought money to pay bills, looking for a job in this economy, boredom. But the biggest danger I've seen so far is that I read too much news, and actually have started reading the 1000+ page healthcare bill from Congress. I've only gotten through the first 50 pages. To put it nicely, reading a 1000 page book on just about any other subject would be better than trying to read through this bill. There is quite a bit of "see section xxxx, x, x, x,.1" in this that I'm not sure I'll ever quite understand all the ins and outs, and yet, I'm doing it.

Within the first 50 pages, I've already found places where both sides have been wrong. It is a fact that 5 years after the bill is passed you may not be able to keep your current insurance even if you like it. And if you switch your insurance in that 5 year period, you will have to use the government exchange. You can still buy a private plan, but that plan will have to include what the government tells it to include.

I have not yet found a section that mandates covering abortions, the closest we come is "family planning", and while that could include abortion, it doesn't necessarily include abortion yet. I'll let you know if that provision does crop up later in the bill.

Something else of note: there are certain "taxes" that will be imposed for certain things. And in one place it actually says "This tax imposed under this chapter will not be treated as a tax". Kinda makes you think these people are really trying to pull one over on us, right? (I haven't gotten to that section yet, but someone pointed it out to me. It's there - page 203 lines 14 and 15)

The purpose for me reading this bill is because we are hearing "it says that", "no it doesn't say that", and since I'm not sure half the people opining on this have actually read it, I'm going to read it and find out what it really says. At this point, I can point to the only major lie I have seen. President Obama keeps saying "If you like your insurance plan, you can keep it". That's not true Mr. President. Not really. What you need to be saying is "If you like your insurance plan you can keep it for 5 years. At that time, if that plan doesn't meet our mandates you will not be able to keep it, unless it changes to meet our mandates. And then, it may not be the plan you liked and wanted to keep."

I have noticed several other things in this debate and I'm going to opine and ask questions:

1 - The President himself once said "I'm not familiar with that portion of the bill". Please, Mr. President, if you are going to push Health Insurance Reform, could you at least be part of the process? This is your idea, and yet, you seemed to have handed control of it over to the Congress and Senate, and you aren't even sure about everything that's in it.

2 - The debate changed over the last month from "Health Care Reform" to "Health Insurance Reform". Please explain that change?

3. According to the Bill coverage with this new plan won't start until 2013, and even then the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) says it will only cover about 16 million of the uninsured, meaning that of the "47 million" we keep hearing about, 31 million of them will remained uncovered at a price tag of at least 1 trillion dollars. So are these 31 million not Americans and not entitled to coverage? Who are these people who will ultimately not be covered by the bill that's supposed to make sure EVERYONE has affordable coverage?

4. Why the rush? If this is the biggest thing we need to tackle, the biggest problem we have, why not take the time to do it right? Mr. President, you gave these people 3 weeks to write a bill, and you actually wanted them to pass it in that time too. Can we please give them the time to do the right thing? Please?

I truly do believe there needs to be reform. I have several ideas I'd like to express to my Representatives about that reform. But the truth is, a good bi-partisan effort with the American people involved is going to take time. The President once said that he envisioned the meetings taking place on C-Span and having all kinds of people in on the discussion. This current bill was written in committee with people from Congress - no constituents, no doctors - just career politicians. That's not the way health care or, I'm sorry, health insurance reform should be handled. It's not the way the President told us it would be handled.