Posts Tagged ‘joe biden’

Obama’s health care reform: four score and seven years from now

September 25, 2009

By David Farside

September 22, 2009

President Barack Obama, in his quest for “change,” still remains a political lightening rod. His domestic policy of health care reform has not only divided the country politically but also has created segregated boundaries between white and black. It has brought out the worst in some Republican politicians and threatens to open old wounds of racial prejudice.

During Obama’s recent speech to Congress explaining his health care proposal, Congressman Joe Wilson shouted to Obama, “You lie!” Vice President Joe Biden condemned his outburst and said it went beyond civility and “demeaned the institution.” It’s a good thing Biden doesn’t hold office in the United Kingdom. The lack of civility in the House of Commons is normal and it doesn’t demean its highest chamber of democracy. Regardless, Wilson should never have been censured for exercising his freedom of speech.

The president’s new health care plan is basically the same as the one released last week by a six-member bipartisan U.S. Senate finance committee. Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana and chairman of the committee, said the cost is projected to be almost $900 billion over a 10-year span. Compared to the $1 trillion we have allocated and spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to kill thousands of innocent Muslim men, women and children claiming they are harboring terrorists, we should at least spend the same amount preserving the life and health care of American citizens, don’t you think?

Although the plan promises not to increase our personal income tax, it will tax insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical device makers and clinical labs. That could possibly reduce research in new technology and discourage the development of new lifesaving drugs.

The proposal includes Obama’s plan for a government-backed insurance plan to compete with private insurance companies, guaranteeing coverage for every American and low-income families. If they can’t afford the insurance premium, the government will pay it for them. Obama didn’t mention how much that would cost, short-term or long-term, or if it will be included in or subtracted from current welfare payments. The penalty for non-welfare recipients for not insuring themselves could be as high as $3,000 annually.

Under the plan, insurers can’t deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions; however, it doesn’t put a cap on unaffordable premiums. That could also be a major cost to any government-backed insurance program.

Obama has always maintained that the cost of national health care will be offset by reducing redundancy in testing, better record keeping and a healthier America that will not need expensive medical care in the future. As an incentive to further the goal for healthier Americans, insurers will reduce premiums for non-smokers and people who take care of their health.

The right-wing conservatives are opposed to most of these proposals and are using their organized hatred, intolerance and racist ignorance to undermine meaningful debate on the issue.

All Republicans are not racist, but there is no doubt most of the opponents of Obama’s health care plan are Republicans and most of the opponents are using racist propaganda to make their point.

Conservative personalities Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh must sleep in white-hooded robes with a picture of a burning cross over their bed. Beck labeled Obama as a racist, saying he has “exposed himself as a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people.” I wonder how he can prove that? Limbaugh added that the criticism of Obama’s plan is all “based on racism.” If anyone should know what the Republicans on the right are thinking, it should be good, ol’ Rush.

Former President Jimmy Carter, a Georgia Democrat, added more controversy to the political deck of race cards. He said he thought personal attacks against Obama have been influenced to a major degree on a belief that he should not be president because he is African-American.

Fortunately, the election of Obama wasn‘t all based on prejudice or racism. The majority of voters above the yearly income of $200,000 voted for a black man. The majority of voters with an income below $50,000 voted for an African-American. Ironically, it was the Hispanic vote that put him over the top in the state of Florida.

Obama will get a health care plan passed by Congress not because he is black, but because he is a dedicated and working president.

Maybe 87 years from now, our generation will be vindicated and praised for setting racial prejudice aside and voting for an African-American president.

Maybe an American-Indian president will remind us that four score and seven years ago, their forefathers brought forth a new political nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. And that we gave our nation a new birth of freedom demonstrating we are truly a government of the people, by the people and for the people. And because of it, we shall not perish from the earth – maybe.