Republican party resisting compromise on health reform

Michael Droste/Guest Editorial

As the battle over healthcare continues to rage on our televisions and in our newspapers, the Republican Party seems content to spread misinformation and block progress rather than engage in intelligent debate. The lies range from the benign to the downright fallacious, with our very own Sen. Charles Grassley going as far as to tell his own constituents the health bill will “Pull the plug on Grandma”, a claim that has since been debunked.

And yet, much to the chagrin of conservatives across the country, an undeniable fact remains: the current health system is unsustainable.
Almost two thirds of all bankruptcies in the United States stem from medical bills, even amongst those who already have private insurance, and these medical costs continue to rise at a rate far faster than wages. This is not “capitalistic success,” as Alex Entz defined it in the Sept. 22 edition of the Hi-Line. Rather, what we get in return for this financial nightmare is what the World Health Organization objectively ranks as the 37th best performing healthcare system in the world — right between the great countries of Costa Rica and Slovenia. Alex Entz, though quick to claim the coverage we receive “is much better than the Europeans,” was unable to define what the NHS was (Britain’s National Health Service, the organization responsible for running their health system) as late as last week. As much as those on the right try to defend our system, all objective studies show the same radical inefficiencies that drive down quality of service whilst driving up costs cause great detriment to our system.

Some also question whether a government option would really create competition in a system with hundreds of private insurers. This statistic is misleading, as no American truly has access to every insurer that exists in America. In Alabama, for example, one company is responsible for over 90 percent of health coverage. Others worry that a government option would result in the phasing out of the private sector, resulting in the government becoming “the only show in town,” as Sen. Grassley said. Not only is this unsupported by history (which shows us many successful two-tier health systems, like that of Australia’s), but it’s an inaccurate representation of what the health bill is striving to do. The system Obama is working to provide would not be a taxpayer-subsidized system, but instead would be set up like a conventional insurance company, relying on premiums collected to stay “in business.” As the president said, “It could provide a good deal for consumers, and would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable and treat their customers better, the same way public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students without in any way inhibiting a vibrant system of private colleges and universities.”

In the Sept. 22 Hi-Line, writer Alex Entz briefly discussed the “loopholes” associated with the healthcare bill. For example, he wrote “for Obama to say that the bill would not give illegal immigrants coverage under his plan remains a downright fallacy.” Unfortunately, the only fallacy present here is what Alex wrote himself. Section 246 in the House Bill, the aptly named “No Federal Payment for Undocumented Aliens,” states “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”
Conservatives continue to call the attempts for health reform “rushed,” though the bill has received more media scrutiny and public attention than any other bill of the past decade. This, again, is a poorly-conceived attack on the bill with no foundation in reason at all. The Senate health bill, proposed by Sen. Max Baucus, has accepted dozens of Republican amendments, while the House bill has accepted over 100 amendments. This is not, as Entz puts it, an “unwavering mission that allows for little compromise.” Despite this attempt at bipartisan reform, the number of Republicans in Congress who support the bill remains at zero.

The Republican Party has never been willing to compromise on health reform. The lies and deceit they have showcased as the bill has been discussed have been nothing short of disgusting, and their scrutiny has been imprudent at best. Our president would be wise to stop pandering to their interests and move forward without them instead.

Class of 2014

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