Special Interests & Health Care

The re-writing of what I’d choose to call the Unaffordable Care Act has brought all the usual suspects out in high dudgeon.  Who are the usual suspects?  Obviously all the elements of the health care delivery system that reaped significant revenue increases when then-President Obama signed the bill produced by ONLY the Democrats at “O-Dark Thirty” in the night.  Think of the picture of delight that was Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) when that last vote was tallied.

Then-President Obama intended all along to give everything he could to those who supported him, and, with the help of the Democrat-controlled Congress, he did just that.  The Republicans are now paying the price for their promise to roll this giveaway program back and to re-write it so that it would truly be more affordable to us taxpayers who are footing a significant portion of the costs since most of those now able to obtain health care are those who could not afford those services heretofore.  The task of making something that has proven unaffordable affordable is now a millstone around the necks of the Republicans.

Essentially, the Democrats are in the position today of being able both to have their cake and to eat it, too.  This gift from then-President Obama is truly the gift that keeps on giving, politically.  Oddly enough, this undeserved gift to the Democrats comes at great expense to the Republicans who are now trying to fix the problem as we’ve already mentioned.

Patients are concerned, understandably, since they fear they’ll again be without health care because that is what they’ve been told by the Democrats.  Doctors are concerned because their patient load will be diminished and because they’ll not be able to provide treatment to all the new patients; we take their complaints as being more on behalf of the patients than their own bank accounts.  Hospitals have staffed up and built-out and now face prospects of diminished patient loads.  Pharmaceutical manufacturers delighted in their newfound marketplace, so they are not excited about the current prospects.

Health insurers, in large part, were anything but excited over ObamaCare after they had claims experience to look at since they lost a bunch of money given that they had to cover all the pre-existing conditions that suddenly were insured.  They were promised they’d be compensated for this care BUT they were not adequately compensated.  Several bigger names in that world are gone, or virtually gone, today.

AARP, the American Medical Association, and the American Hospital Association are involved in the scrum, as well.  We have a medical-industrial complex, as the Washington Post described today, that takes these things very seriously since their constituency is deeply involved.

The Republicans are in a box, and some in that party are rebelling (remember the Freedom Caucus) and threatening they’ll not follow leadership.  They see this as their opportunity to gain credibility with those who support them.  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Speaker of the House, is in a box since he has to fight those elements in his own party in addition to the Democrats who are gleefully watching this unfold.

We are watching political sausage being made, and that can be a very ugly process.  This is what our forefathers intended although I doubt seriously that even they would’ve foreseen the crass posing for political pictures we witness almost daily.  Were the only opposition for the Republicans Democrats, we could better understand the nature of the beast.  When we add 39 conservative Republicans to the mix, it becomes more difficult to understand.

What about the Senate, you might ask.  I expect that we’ll see the Republican members there involved in their own dust-ups.  Some are conservative and some are not…we’ll call them moderates to be kind.  Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was interviewed by Katie Couric yesterday and she said she did not think the current bill would be “well received in the Senate”.  She said it had no chance of passing as is (she is a moderate, by the way).

The Democrats were probably smart to have conducted their final business in creating this mess in the dark of night.  They, of course, knew that they’d catch no flack from the ‘press’ contrary to what would/will happen if Republicans use the same tactics.

There are degrees of Republican conservatism.  The Freedom Caucus shows us that quite ably.  They will work as hard as possible to gain the edge in the building of this legislation.  They ran on that understanding and they’ll do their best to deliver on what they promised…maybe to the detriment of the final outcome.  Only time will tell.

We see just how complicated governance is, especially at the national level, and yet this is better than almost any other kind of governance.  We are watching people, who sometimes have an over-inflated opinion of their own importance given their high positions, jockey for the high ground.  They are sometimes, too often I fear, more concerned with what they’ll get from all this rather being concerned with the best outcome for us citizens.

True statesmanship is sometimes a difficult thing to find in Washington, D.C.  That is why elections are so very important.  That is why each of our votes is so very important.  We each have a stake in the outcome of every vote whether we come to realize that or not.

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