Monday, March 22, 2010

Putting the "Late" in Legislate

I admit, I kept an eye on the TV all day yesterday, and stayed up all night to watch the Health Reform voting. You'd think after losing my own election almost a week ago and being hit with a slew of vile lies that I would remove myself from any and all politics, but no.

As I listened to the arguments, pro and con, I thought back almost seven years ago. We were planning on moving to Cooperstown, and I wasn't sure how I would proceed in trading. My first order of business was to find health insurance. Since I was leaving Equitec, I had to find private insurance for the five of us. One call, the first, scared the shit out of me.

I was informed, right off the bat, that N. was uninsurable. Why? Autism. I couldn't believe it and protested.

"He doesn't cost any more than a regular kid. He has a couple of prescriptions, that's it," I argued, trying to keep a lid on my fear and anger.

"It's a pre-existing condition. No one will insure him."

Being autistic would preclude him from having coverage for a broken leg? For pneumonia? For cancer? It didn't make sense.

Everything worked out, as the CFO of Equitec offered me a trading account within one of the limited partnerships and, as long as I paid my way, access to the same health coverage I'd been under for the past three years. What a relief! Thanks Fred.

Now I get to pay $21,000 each year for health insurance. N. is fine. He ended up qualifying for Medicaid due to his autism, which takes a huge load off our mind going forward. He'll be 20 in August.

That experience was on my mind as I listened to the endless stream of House bills: HR 3590, HR 4872, HR Haldeman, HR Pufnstuf. Is health care a "right" or a "privilege?" Maybe it's neither. Maybe it's just something that as moral people we should all be concerned about. I'm no Christian, but I believe "do unto others" is the way to live. Shouldn't we care about the lives and health of all people? If we should, then a course must be set to meet that concern.

That's where the Republicans lost it last night. Minority Leader John Boehner screamed "Hell no you can't!" Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke, not on the arcane parliamentary process, but on the coverage of 32 million people, on the elimination of pre-exisitng conditions, the end of rescissions. Think about that last one. No longer can insurance companies kick you off your policy when you become too sick for their balance sheets.

Do I believe that the CBO score is unimpeachably correct on the future deficit reduction powers of health reform? I don't know. Do I share the GOP's belief that this bill will lead the nation to further expansion of health care provided by the government? Absolutely. These type of programs only expand, they never lessen.

And why is that bad? Forget the "we'll become European" claptrap. What is so terrible about making sure Americans are given adequate medical coverage. Again, I won't speak as a knowledgeable Christian, because I can't, but isn't it true that we are supposed to look after those less fortunate? Isn't that the tenet of most religions, of most civilized societies?

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