Monday, October 28, 2013

Just the Truth Please

Over the last few months, well, years actually, I have been conned into believing anything and everything that right-wing bloggers put out there. Yes, I know. I am a right-wing blogger too but with the last few debacles (O'care and the government shutdown), I had an epiphany.  Our nation has become so divided that in order to "make people see the truth", we have participated in the division and we ourselves have not told the entire truth.
The last few days I have listened to Obama and the guy is a great salesman. I'll give him that. And, just as any great salesman, he has certain tools he uses, phrases and manner of speaking about a given subject that just sound just so right, so clear and so truthful. Except, it isn't completely. Had he told all of us back in 2010 when he went around the country trying to "sell" his health care plan just what the goal of that legislation was and that because of that goal, we were going to see some insurance companies fold up their tents and go away OR that other insurance companies would increase their premiums.
Insurance is a risk, right? The whole gamble from the insurer's point of view is to not spend any money on you or me. Our goal is that if we get sick, the insurer will spend money on us as contracted in our plan. Sadly and wrongly, a lot of what was not covered or caps, etc. were in very tiny print and individuals, particularly, were buying a plan that didn't cover much. An example I heard over the weekend is that a single mother of 2 children paid $50 a month for health care through her employer. But get this: this company had an annual cap of $2000!! Have you ever gone to an emergency room for even the slightest thing and the cost been less than $2000? No, I didn't think so. Now, this is flat-out wrong. So I get that the goal of insurance reform was to make all insurers cover certain key things.  (The mandate that coverage for dependents must extend to the age of 26 is something I don't understand at all, however.) From what I have read and heard, maternity care, mental health, preexisting conditions and other things must be offered in whatever plan sold by any insurance company. Also, there can be no cap, either annually or life-time. As I said above, insurers do business to make money. All these things mandated by the Act will make more money come out of their pockets. Since profit is the goal for the companies and their shareholders, they, of course, are going to raise their rates. Just plain business sense. This insurance company with the $2000 cap just shut its doors. They saw no other option and/or didn't want to really offer a viable product.
I may have some of this wrong because I don't totally have the complete picture. I will admit that up front. If Obama had spelled out that fairness was the goal of health care reform and true coverage not just promises from an insurer, just maybe he could have sold it better. But here's the thing: it seems that due to the division in our nation from any kind of dialog, we didn't get a clear picture from anybody! Because Obama is such a good salesman, he knows (or at least he thinks he does) just what to say and how to say it. He speaks to low-informed voters mostly and/or assumes those who listen just aren't smart enough to understand it. One of his biggest downfalls is that he IS condescending.
Also, if anyone asks for clarification, that person is vilified. Name-calling like hater or racist starts rather than let's figure this out. What does that mean? What does that cover? Everything we have heard since October 1 has been what this and that doesn't cover, how high the premiums are etc.  Please note: these are all about individual plans and somehow that doesn't quite get clarified. It is doom and gloom. Now, I have some serious issues about certain mandates, fees, fines, etc. It is  not that I am sold on the bill at all. I feel that the creators of the Act were rushed first of all and secondly, there is nothing about tort reform and that is critical. Part of the reason health care has become so expensive is due to litigation-happy attorneys out there. Yes, I understand that some lawsuits are legitimate and the patients (or loved ones left behind) need compensation for negligence, fraud, etc. But some of them are frivolous and the jury awards outrageous and over-compensate the plaintiffs. The more money awarded, the more the attorney gets. No, I am not against attorneys either and I'd say the vast amount of them are not ambulance-chasers but a few have made it hellish for the most.
Not only were the creators of the Act rushed but the companies tasked to put this huge website together rushed.  The portal wasn't not alpha or beta tested and just not ready for prime time. Putting together what is essentially a major database (several, actually) is a huge job and much can go wrong. Each piece must work with all the other pieces to get the product up and running. Using a no-bid contract, old software and then rushing the coding were just recipes for disaster. But because the Republicans were screaming for repealing, then defunding the bill altogether, the Democrats dug their heels in and went online anyway. This is what happens when there is such vile division among people and parties. All constructive dialog never happens.
Folks, we need dial all this rhetoric down - a lot! We will never get completely honest answers about anything if our first reaction is to attack. What happened to polite conversation? Forget polite, just plain conversation instead of automatically calling others names. Let's inform each other rather than assume the other person is just plain wrong. How is that for an idea?
I have seen sites where Chicken Little would have been comfortable. Do you know what I mean by that? The topic, whatever it is, calls for screaming that the sky is falling. The extremes are spouted rather than any kind of real information. I can't tell you how many times I have seen this happen about bills that have passed here in California. None of the doom and gloom prophesied by the religious right has happened. Yes, it still might but some of these bills were passed a decade ago.
Just like the government shutdown - that was totally unnecessary but the Republicans didn't shut the government down. Every time I hear it said, I see red. What happened is that BOTH parties were responsible! Again, due to the extreme rhetoric on both sides simply shut any type of conversation down. I understand what each side wanted but to get to the edge (fiscal cliff - whatever) puts political pressure on both sides of the aisle and no one wants calm down. I was very disappointed in the actions taken by Obama in the shutdown. Most of what he did was childish. I guess we all need to grow up so these types of things don't keep happening.
My message is don't lie at ALL; tell us the whole truth; don't wait until the last minute to get things done and take rational actions. Mostly talk to each other so we can get things done.

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