Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday Call & Response-Quick Review of the Weekly Addresses

I Listened to this week’s President’s weekly address and the Republican response.  Here’s what the President had to say:

That’s quite a week, no?

Now, here’s the Republican response from Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO):

Seeing as Rep. Blunt concentrated on the health care summit that took place this week, I was particularly struck by two passages.

First, President Obama said, “Our ideas and opinions about how to achieve this reform will vary, but our goal must be the same:  quality, affordable health care for every American that no longer overwhelms the budgets of families, businesses, and our government.”  I like this because it is a simple, well stated goal.

Meanwhile, Republicans want us to think about what that might look like.  Rep. Blunt said, “Just imagine a health care system that looks like a government run operation most of us are all too familiar with - the local DMV. Lines, paper work, taking a number. Or how about another government agency - the IRS.” 

What really irritates me with Rep. Blunt’s statement is the fact that he is comparing something that hasn’t even become close to reality to something everybody hates.  No, I don’t like the DMV, but who says this plan has to be like the DMV?  Why begin a discussion of reforming something everybody needs by bringing up something everybody hates?  Oh, yeah, I forgot.  You’re a puppet for the insurance lobby, aren’t you?  I don’t know that for a fact, but with statements like these, it certainly seems that way.

For the most part, his response was mostly concerned with competition.  Now, I believe in competition, especially when competition results in quality products at good prices.  But my employer offers three plans from the same company.  I didn’t get a list of providers with different plans at different prices.  I got a provider with three plans.  That’s not competition.  I’m sure they shopped around and got the best deal, but I wasn’t involved in that process.  Nobody competed for my business, I was told to choose.

Back in the 80s, my uncle moved his family from Ohio to Canada.  We never really discussed politics and he always struck me as a conservative kind of guy.  He would say time and again that Canada had the best health care system in the world.  I don’t know why we can’t make a workable system, addressing Rep. Blunt’s concern for competition and President Obama’s desire to lift the health burden for business, government and the individual. 

Please, talk about it and fix it, but don’t start planting negative seeds before a plan is even proposed.

For more information on health care around the world, check out NPR’s "Health Care for All" page.

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