Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Monday, March 22, 2010

Healthcare Hullabaloo

Last night I watched the closing arguments for and against the Healtchare Reform bill in the Senate and wanted to capture a few of my thoughts.

I found Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) to be spot on in most everything he articulated:

"Despite overwhelming public opposition, today this administration and this Congress is poised to ignore the majority of the American people. Madam Speaker, this is not the President's house, this is not the Democrats house, this is the people’s house and the American people don't want a government takeover of healthcare."

Now I know they don’t like us to call it that, but when you mandate every American have government approved insurance, whether they want it or need it or not. When you create a government run plan paid for with job killing tax increases, when you provide public funding for abortions, that’s a government takeover of healthcare and the American people know it.

The American people want to face our challenges in healthcare with more freedom and not more government.”

That is exactly how I feel.

At one point John Boehner asked for the vote to be a roll call vote and was, in my opinion, treated with disrespect and contempt by the Speaker of the Senate. Later on, when he made his request again, he stated that he had sent a letter earlier in the weekend to Nancy Pelosi requesting that she call for such a vote. In that letter, John Boehner stated the following:
"This weekend’s votes will be among the most consequential votes we will ever cast as Members of Congress. As such, it is my belief that every Member should stand before the American people and announce his or her vote as the final decision is made."
Once again, his request was denied. The vote was recorded electronically. If I were a member of Congress or the Senate and I claimed to be proud of what I was trying to pass as legislation, I would want to have the opportunity to stand before the people and verbally cast my vote in favor of the bill.

Since the Democrats did not want to entertain such a request, I can only reach the following conclusions:
- The members of the Senate knew that what they were pushing to pass was not what the American public wanted.
- The members of the Senate knew that this bill was not what they were promoting.
- The members of the Senate knew that this bill flies in the face of the history of this nation.
- The members of the Senate don't have enough courage to stand in front of the people they supposedly represent and state their approval.
- The members of the Senate are pushing the President's agenda while claiming to be of the people, by the people and for the people.

The final speech before the vote was given by Nancy Pelosi. (Video recap)
“It is with great humility and with great pride that we tonight will make history for our country and progress for the American people. Just think—we will be joining those who established Social Security, Medicare, and now tonight health care for all Americans.
I'm pretty sure this is more about pride than humility. You've made history alright, but it might not be the kind that you want to be remembered for. Social Security and Medicare are two major reasons why I absolutely abhor the idea of government run healthcare. It would be hard for me to find any other programs that are more wasteful, bloated, and unable to manage themselves than these two.
“In doing so, we will honor the vows of our founders, who in the Declaration of Independence said that we are ‘endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ This legislation will lead to healthier lives, more liberty to pursue hopes and dreams and happiness for the American people. This is an American proposal that honors the traditions of our country.
Dead wrong, on so many levels. It takes a certain kind of person who is willing to not only refer to the Declaration of Independence, but to quote it and proclaim that this bill would be agreed upon by those men. This legislation will not lead to healthier lives. (On a side note, who will determine what is considered healthy?)

How can you have more liberty than you currently have to pursue hopes and dreams? The liberty and freedom found in the United States of America already provide you with that opportunity, but it demands that you take hold of it and earn your way to fulfilling those desires. (Also, not every dream is meant to be captured or achieved.)  I can guarantee that this piece of legislation does not and will not bring happiness to the American people.

History will tell us how "American" this invasion of free-markets and privacy is, but I cannot see in this moment how it in any way honors the traditions of our country. Traditionally, the elected representatives of the people vote on issues in a manner that reflects the majority of the people's desires. That is how Barack Obama was elected - by the people and the electoral college who took those people into account when casting their votes. Just because he was voted into office does not mean that the American people support every idea or bill that he wishes to pass. A vote for the man does not imply a total ideological shift. It's a vote for something different. Change. A fresh perspective. Not a new government.

The fact that the majority of the American people have consistently stated their direct opposition to this particular bill has been totally and utterly ignored by the White House and the Democrats that follow the President around begging for a pat on the head or a scratch on the back.
“We all know, we all know that the present health care system and insurance system, health insurance system in our country is unsustainable. We simply cannot afford it. It simply does not work for enough people in terms of delivery of service and it is bankrupting the country with the upward spiral of increasing medical costs."
It is incredibly ironic that suddenly Nancy Pelosi is worried about budgets and whether or not the people or the government can afford something. She has made a career out of passing legislation that bankrupts businesses, sends the government into near-catastrophic debt and causes the typical American family no small amount of hardship. How is it the best action for the people's budgets to pass a bill that begins charging taxes immediately and doesn't project any possible benefit for years to come?
“The best action that we can take on behalf of America’s family budgets and on behalf of the federal budget, is to pass health care reform."
I can say without hesitation that my family's budget puts to shame both our Federal government budget and Mrs. Pelosi's bankrupt state of California's budget. My budget is in the black, while yours are both blood red. I work a job and earn a living, while you work your job and take my money and spend it however you desire. You passing a bill that will undoubtedly increase my costs, while taking more money out of my paycheck, will in no way help my family's budget.
“We would not be here tonight, for sure, without the extraordinary leadership and vision of President Barack Obama. We thank him for his unwavering commitment to health care for all Americans.
Indeed. I found the way she said and paused after his name to be a little creapy.
“Another Speaker, Tip O’Neill once said: ‘All politics is local.’ And I say to you tonight that when it comes to health care for all Americans, ‘All politics is personal.’
If politics is personal when it comes to healthcare, then why don't you let each person decide how they want to be covered, where they will go for treatment and what doctors they will support. If it is personal, why didn't you listen to the American people and scrap this bill months ago. Politics is personal to you, Mrs. Pelosi, in that you want your political agenda to be thrown over everyone else.
 
She then brought Ted Kennedy back from the grave to suppport this bill.
“After a year of debate and hearing the calls of millions of Americans, we have come to this historic moment. Today, we have the opportunity to complete the great unfinished business of our society and pass health insurance reform for all Americans that is a right and not a privilege."
Healthcare is a priviledge, even for Americans. It is not a God-given right for any man to be guarranteed access to healthcare. People have been dying for millenia because they did not have access to good healthcare in the form of medications, surgeries, doctors, ect. To say that this is a right is a reflection of a false understanding of what a right is and/or an attempt to alter or change the definition of a right.  
 
My blood pressure was high throughout the night, not because I had hope that the bill might pass, but because I had no hope that the majority of the American people would be accurately represented by our elected officials. I hated the way that agendas were presented as honorable, factual, selfless, humble and reflective of the founding values of our nation.
 
I have very little doubt that this November's mid-term election will be interesting to say the least.

I am not proud of how I am respresented by Claire McAskill on many different issues. I am looking for a solid candidate to replace her when her term is up in 2012.

I am incredibly proud to be accurately represented by Representative Todd Akin. His statement on the Government Takeover of Healthcare is great. Read the whole thing. Here's part of it:
“Today Americans are reacquainted with the danger of an arrogant all powerful government, a deadly enemy within, a clear and present danger in Washington.
... But freedom dies hard in America."
Here is what he said on the floor of the House regarding this bill: 


Tomorrow afternoon, the President will sign the bill into law. In the coming weeks we will learn all about what exactly was in the bill. I expect to find all sorts of kickbacks that have nothing to do with healthcare to members of both parties. I expect to see a lot of wastefull spending. I expect to see government funding of abortion. I expect to discover that our government has just taken some of our freedom and choice in how we access healthcare systems. I expect the free-market values to lose.

I hope I am wrong.

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