Monday, August 17, 2009

HR 3200: A Primer For The Misinformed

The National Healthcare Reform Bill has sparked widespread political frenzies across the nation, once again drawing major attention to “Mainstreet, USA.” News talk radio, television shows, newspapers, and advertisements have been blasting the public with misinterpretations and fear tactics that give no actual facts on the bill. Cable stations, and news media outlets stand to profit from the $170 million spent on healthcare ads as a result of the frenzy caused by the controversial bill.

It is unfortunate that the general public is as uninformed about this issue as they have been led to become. There are sources of factual information on the bill on the internet, but very few have accessed that information. People are being lead by fear and misinformation, which has caused physical and verbal altercations at town hall meetings on healthcare.

Louisiana’s federal legislators have failed to provide the public with clear and concise factual evidence to justify their opposition to or support of HR 3200. The debate has switched from logical value to religious and political party wars. Republican Representative Joseph Cao has included his studies of becoming a Jesuit Priest in his justification of opposing the bill. The Weekly Standard even likened Cao to St. Thomas More, even though Cao abandoned his quest for priesthood long ago for private sector legal/business practice and politics. Go figure. In a similar effort to gain support from religious conservatives, Republican Senator David Vitter originally claimed the purported abortion policy in the bill “could kill millions,” only later issuing the statement, “We found an amendment in a key version of the House plan that specifically seeks to ensure that federal funds are not used to subsidize abortion coverage.” Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu stated her opposition to the Democrats’ proposal for government controlled healthcare, and her opposition has sparked malicious advertisements from and Change Congress, causing the facts on her opposition to be overpowered by negative publicity.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this debate is not about political party affiliation or religious beliefs. It is about healthcare coverage for the 50 million uninsured Americans, and an equal number of under-insured. The Democrats believe that government control is the way to go. Republicans believe that government control is inefficient and will drive private insurance companies out of business. Both sides agree with some sort of healthcare reform, whether it is free universal healthcare or motives to make private insurers more competitive. Canada has proven that universal healthcare has a positive track record, with some flaws. U.S. history has proven that profit motives, competition, and individual ingenuity have always led to greater cost control and effectiveness. It is up to our policy makers to develop a plan that is most efficient and beneficial to the American people. It is up to the American citizens to educate themselves on the bill and to petition their leaders to consider the public’s concerns when voting on the bill.

Here are some pros and cons to HR 3200


The number of uninsured citizens has grown to over 45 million.

Health care has become increasingly unaffordable for businesses and individuals.

We can eliminate wasteful inefficiencies such as duplicate paper work, claim approval, insurance submission, etc.

We can develop a centralized national database which makes diagnosis and treatment easier for doctors.

Medical professionals can concentrate on healing the patient rather than on insurance procedures, malpractice liability, etc.

Free medical services would encourage patients to practice preventive medicine and inquire about problems early when treatment will be light; currently, patients often avoid physicals and other preventive measures because of the costs.

Patients with pre-existing conditions can still get health coverage.


Government-controlled health care would lead to a decrease in patient flexibility.

Healthy people who take care of themselves will have to pay for the burden of those who smoke, are obese, etc.

Patient confidentiality is likely to be compromised since centralized health information will likely be maintained by the government.

Patients aren't likely to curb their drug costs and doctor visits if health care is free; thus, total costs will be several times what they are now.

A long, painful transition will have to take place involving lost insurance industry jobs, business closures, and new patient record creation.

LJI and our partners at Children’s Defense Fund, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, and the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana are sponsoring a Community Conversation on Healthcare Reform, on Tuesday, August 25, 2009, at Tulane Memorial Baptist Church, from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Several panelists will be on hand to discuss healthcare issues in the Greater New Orleans community, and we have invited all of our federal congressional delegation members to attend, serve as panelists, and respond to your questions.

So what should you do?

Educate yourselves.

Attend this forum.

Ask questions, calmly.

Listen without prejudice.

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