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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Obama Care, Medicare, And Your Care

To watch and listen to Congressman Barney Frank as he goes into a constituent heave-ho and heave-to at a Dartmouth, Massachusetts health care town meeting, is a real eye and ear opener. A young woman clutching an Obama photo doctored with a Hitler moustache attempts a question to which Frank answers with a question, "What planet are you from?"

He goes on to say that he would get nowhere talking with her as he might as well be talking to a wooden table. And so the tenor of the congressional August recess has been set; dialogue is out, bullying is the tour de’ force for both sides. The health care debate will have to wait for the entrance of only like-minded advocates to discuss, demure, and agree. These are not your mom’s and pop’s town meetings to rationally discuss opposing viewpoints.

And so goes the great American health care debate in small town meeting venues across the nation.

Senator Specter has to intervene between jostling opponents in Pennsylvania.

A Georgia congressman has a swastika painted by unknown health care opponents on his district office sign.

People want clarification. President Obama says the "public option" is off the table. A day later, one of his appointees, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, says it isn’t so.

Are "Death Panels" a part of the government package? Will people behind Washington desks eventually dictate who is to receive medical care based on age, infirmary, and degree of illness or injury? The health care promoters say "nonsense", but democrats, republicans, and independents wonder. There are no undecided among the elderly on this point. Is a form of federal medical triage in the future, much like the treatment sometimes given today in overwhelmed emergency rooms?

The democrats are seriously considering a go-alone move, exclusive of Republican input, and in disregard from the concerns of some fellow democrats as well, that would push the heath care program into law on a bare bones voting majority.

Associated Press reports that the health care consumer confidence index compiled by the non-partisan Robert Wood Foundation has slipped 5 percentage points; among seniors on Medicare, the drop is double at 10.4 points.

To be sure, there are some much-needed features in President Obama’s health care proposal: barring insurance companies from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions; halting the ending of benefits when policyholders become ill or injured, and including provisions to ease small businesses toward covering workers.

The once-touted universal coverage of the administration has morphed into a 38 million would receive benefits out of the 46 million uninsured. So, the question begs as to why all the change, upset and expenditure when 10 million are still going to be left out in the cold?
And of course there’s still that hush-hush administration deal that got pharmaceutical companys’ health care support in a deal exchange for leaving the present domestic prescription pricing structure in place.

Will Americans still find it illegal to purchase the same prescription medications available for import at much lower costs from other countries like Canada?

Better not ask Barney Frank unless you want an eye and ear-opening, "What planet are you from?"

M. R. Lawrence / Midday

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