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First, Do No Harm October 4, 2009

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Money.
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I was hoping that the Senate health care reform bill would at the very least, “Do No Harm”. We all think of that as part of the Hippocratic Oath, but it is not. The phrase that references harm is actually the promise “to abstain from doing harm”, according to Wikipedia.

While some might wish that Congress would “abstain from doing harm” more often, I don’t agree. I am a fan of government-albeit a transparent one. To quote the Public Disclosure Act of Washington State: (RCW 42.17.010)

(1)That political campaign and lobbying contributions and expenditures be fully disclosed to the public and that secrecy is to be avoided. (emphasis added)

(2) That the people have the right to expect from their elected representatives at all levels of government the utmost of integrity, honesty, and fairness (emphasis added) in their dealings.

Those statements apply to our members of Congress too. Did the members and the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee accept too many contributions from the insurance industry? (See Baucus’s fundraising in 2008 here) How does the bill  about to be voted on help the public interest with no public option in it? And why do the insurance companies (whose stock values went up the day after the President made the public option sound well, “optional”) need a ten year subsidy to support all of their new customers?

Even people who work for Group Health Cooperative, one of the Co-op success stories bandied about as a new national strategy don’t believe that co-ops are the answer. Next alternative is “the exchange”- a marketplace.

Who has not been paying attention? Many states do not have a marketplace, but a near monopoly. Last I checked a “marketplace” has more than one seller and prices are not all the same.

I respect the President’s statement that we are 80% of the way there and that bills have never been generated out of five committees before. But he promised to go farther than this! As cancer survivor who has not worked  for companies with 100% coverage for a few years, I am not sure that this bill will be enough. If I am guaranteed coverage, what will the price be, without a worthy competitor such as a public option with millions of participants?

Will I be better off? I think so-and it’s better than the R’s “do nothing/start over” non-alternatives. But, oh what could have been? Wait, some of you still need to get involved. Call your MC and tell them you expect better, and soon!

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