Saturday, December 19, 2009

Kill This Health Care Bill Now!

Well, the experts have spoken but no one listened.

To say I'm disappointed with the proposed health care reform bill is an understatement. Once again, number crunchers, lawyers and politicians (since most of them are lawyers it's double jeopardy) have hijacked true reform and crafted bill catering to special interests: conservative, power hungry males, the anti-abortion lobby, and big business in the form of commercial insurers.

The bill myself and other worked so hard to support has created being female as a pre-exisitng condition, requiring women to pay extra for a rider to include coverage for abortion services. Absolute, inexcusable discrimination.

And those who now have no insurance will be required to buy coverage from an exchange run by, guess who? The very same commercial insurance companies that have screwed us all in the past. If you can't afford to buy food and pay your rent and mortgage how are you going to buy insurance?

Back in the 1980s, insurance companies instituted draconian measures to rein in costs and created the myriad of reimbursement strategies including DRG's, precertifications, referrals, preferred provider organizations....The list goes on and on. In the 1990s the Federal government added a whole new layer of regulations to hold down Medicare costs.

Did it improve care? Hell, no! Anyone who has been in a hospital or emergency room knows that there aren't enough nurses or space, yet there are entire departments dedicated to billing, coding, and enforcement of CLIA, HIPPA and all the other mandates. Hospitals are going out of business because their reimbursement rates have been cut. Providers like myself have closed practices because the cost of doing business is higher than the money paid by insurance companies to provide care--and they pay less and less every year. Add to that the malpractice insurance debacle, which I'm not sure has even been addressed in this bill.

Do you trust these people to administer a new bill? Given the last minute, deal making sellouts by the House and Senate which hijacked the original intent of the bill, AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL PEOPLE, and the betrayal of those of us who worked in good faith to support reform, I do not.

The Democratic Party gloats about winning but all they have won is a political game, likely to make the situation worse, especially for women and families. They ask us for money, phone calls, petitions, events, signatures, letters....then don't even address our concerns or provide a forum for us to voice our discontent.

Senator Gillebrand and Representative Ackerman have not responded to any of my emails or letters. Senator Schumer has, assuring me that he agrees--but he is still voting for this deeply flawed legislation.

Please, call your representatives and tell this to kill this bill and start over.

Op ed columnist Gail Collins has summarized this much better, and with much more humor than I:

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