Crocodile Tears

As we enter this new 2011 political arena with Republican vows to repeal or dismantle “ObamaCare,” I need to weigh in on the subject. I am a writer. I record. I am not a nurse, a doctor or anyone who makes their living in health care. I made my living writing about health care for the past 25 years.  I founded two non-profits to try to bring reason to an irrational system.  I challenged the public to build a better health care system and worked with them for seven years to learn what was important to them:

Having done so, I do not suffer fools gladly.

Lacking an idea of their own, detractors use hackneyed scare tactics. ‘Obamacare,’ ‘death panels,’ ‘government run health care.’   These are the same old musty arguments that have plagued health care reform efforts from the get-go starting with by Teddy Roosevelt.

Health care is not a partisan issue. Its costs and inequities don’t depend on which party you are in or vote for.  Anyone can scream labels, but I have seen health care costs take down Republicans, Democrats and Independents, and probably Tea Party members. These costs have taken down small business owners, entrepreneurs, and once profitable business leaders. They are crippling our states.  I have seen health care costs kill business profits and bankrupt individuals; pit labor against management. I have had friends tell me to keep my hands off their health care benefits, only to tell me now that their health care retiree benefits are vanishing. They now ask me what to do.

Our health care system makes patients ATM machines.  That is possibly an overstatement, but it proves the point. No one gets paid in our health care system, with few exceptions, unless a doctor does something to a patient. Diabetic?  No one gets paid unless the doctor sees you, yet nurses could do a lot more by helping with injections or counseling on nutrition. Few financial rewards exist to encourage  physicians to prevent disease.  These issues are some of the key reasons our health care has cost so much for decades.  You could erase the date from the 1932 final report of the Committee on the Costs of Medical Care because the flaws then remain to this day.

Common sense has never been the hallmark of the American Health Care System.  Health care reform has been, and will be again, a malicious, derisive ideological tirade.  It is now called “Obamacare.”  Last time around it was “Hillarycare.”  Detractors now charge we will have “death panels” for end of life care.  We already have these so called ‘death panels.’  They are simply called ‘Living Wills’ and ‘Advance Directives.’

Who benefits from changing current reform provisions?  Who benefits by setting financial limits on your lifetime care? Or banning children with pre-existing conditions from insurance policies?  Or repealing the opportunity of a family to insure their children up to age 26? Who benefits from eliminating wellness screening care for seniors?  It is certainly not we the people.

While the Republicans call for greater transparency in government, the irony of this new ‘transparency’ regarding legislation, is that current health care reform bill is exempt from those new provisions:   “One of the first House votes on Wednesday will be the enactment of a series of rules changes that Republicans crafted to increase openness in Congress’ proceedings. Despite that, the new majority intends to pass the health care repeal next week without committee hearings or permitting Democrats a chance to seek changes.

“Republicans also have decided to ignore estimates from the Congressional Budget Office that the bill as it originally passed would cut spending by $143 billion over the next decade.” Stephen A. Furst, Associated Press, Jan. 5, 2011.

There is a quote I am fond of:  “There is nothing more terrible than ignorance in action.”  How do we deal with duplicity in action? How can we find a meaningful discussion of our nation’s most intractable problem?  How do can we inject accountability into this mockery of legislation falsely labeled as “in the public interest?”

While we have tears from the new Speaker of the House, they must be in the form of crocodile tears, so named because they are insincere displays that come from an ancient anecdote that crocodiles cry for the victims they are eating.

Kathleen O’Connor, Publisher, The O’ConnorReport, January 7, 2011

About Kathleen

Kathleen O’Connor: 30+ year health care consumer advocate, non-profit executive and author. For more information about Kathleen, please see "About" on the main content bar above.
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