(Out of control then - out of control now) Note: This is a repost from July - but this issue hasn't changed, nor has the argument, nor has the para
September 12, 2009


(Out of control then - out of control now)

Note: This is a repost from July - but this issue hasn't changed, nor has the argument, nor has the paranoia.

As I continue my trek back in the annals of time for the seeming eternal Health care debate, I thought I would add this one to the mix. President Clinton's address regarding his health care plan from September 22, 1993. It is also followed by a rebuttal from Gov. Carrol Campbell, Sen. Connie Mack III and Rep. Nancy Johnson, all staunch opponents of the proposal and all waving fear cards. Johnson, it should be noted, received major financial support from Pfizer and Bayer Pharmaceuticals for her 2000 re-election bid. They also happen to have corporate headquarters in her home state of Connecticut. Fancy that.

Excerpt from the address of September 22, 1993:

Under our plan, every American would receive a health care security card that will guarantee a comprehensive package of benefits over the course of an entire lifetime, roughly comparable to the benefit package offered by most Fortune 500 companies. This health care security card will offer this package of benefits in a way that can never be taken away. So let us agree on this: Whatever else we disagree on, before this Congress finishes its work next year, you will pass and I will sign legislation to guarantee this security to every citizen of this country.

With this card, if you lose your job or you switch jobs, you're covered. If you leave your job to start a small business, you're covered. If you're an early retiree, you're covered. If someone in your family has unfortunately had an illness that qualifies as a preexisting condition, you're still covered. If you get sick or a member of your family gets sick, even if it's a life-threatening illness, you're covered. And if an insurance company tries to drop you for any reason, you will still be covered, because that will be illegal. This card will give comprehensive coverage. It will cover people for hospital care, doctor visits, emergency and lab services, diagnostic services like Pap smears and mammograms and cholesterol tests, substance abuse, and mental health treatment.

And equally important, for both health care and economic reasons, this program for the first time would provide a broad range of preventive services including regular checkups and well baby visits. Now, it's just common sense. We know, any family doctor will tell you, that people will stay healthier and long-term costs of the health system will be lower if we have comprehensive preventive services. You know how all of our mothers told us that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure? Our mothers were right. And it's a lesson, like so many lessons from our mothers, that we have waited too long to live by. It is time to start doing it.

Health care security must also apply to older Americans. This is something I imagine all of us in this room feel very deeply about. The first thing I want to say about that is that we must maintain the Medicare program. It works to provide that kind of security. But this time and for the first time, I believe Medicare should provide coverage for the cost of prescription drugs.

Yes, it will cost some more in the beginning. But again, any physician who deals with the elderly will tell you that there are thousands of elderly people in every State who are not poor enough to be on Medicaid but just above that line and on Medicare, who desperately need medicine, who make decisions every week between medicine and food. Any doctor who deals with the elderly will tell you that there are many elderly people who don't get medicine, who get sicker and sicker and eventually go to the doctor and wind up spending more money and draining more money from the health care system than they would if they had regular treatment in the way that only adequate medicine can provide.

I also believe that over time, we should phase in long-term care for the disabled and the elderly on a comprehensive basis. As we proceed with this health care reform, we cannot forget that the most rapidly growing percentage of Americans are those over 80. We cannot break faith with them. We have to do better by them.

The second principle is simplicity. Our heath care system must be simpler for the patients and simpler for those who actually deliver health care: our doctors, our nurses, our other medical professionals. Today we have more than 1,500 insurers, with hundreds and hundreds of different forms. No other nation has a system like this. These forms are time consuming for health care providers. They're expensive for health care consumers. They're exasperating for anyone who's ever tried to sit down around a table and wade through them and figure them out.

The medical care industry is literally drowning in paperwork. In recent years, the number of administrators in our hospitals has grown by 4 times the rate that the number of doctors has grown. A hospital ought to be a house of healing, not a monument to paperwork and bureaucracy.

It would seem there was a rush to kill this thing before it even got off the ground, and judging from the amount of insane dire consequences to even consider an alternative to the present day extortion, it feels pretty obvious the forces of Big Pharma and The AMA didn't waste time firing the first salvos.

After a long and arduous battle, the bill died - and nothing was accomplished.

Only finger pointing.

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