Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Trigger" Congressional Buyout

Health care reform emerging from the U.S. House of Representatives appears to include a Public Option. Just how that choice will occur, if it does, in the final bill the House and Senate members must formulate, then pass and send to the White House for our President’s signature, remains to be seen in the next few weeks, months ahead.

Bipartisan support for this bill has been abandoned by the sole Republican who earlier alarmed her political party by supporting in committee the bill’s formulation until the Public Option was added without the "trigger" element she wanted. Others in both political parties seem to lack the courage to step forward and vote positively for what the majority of the American people have said they want -- the Public Option.

I strongly urge reading Ronni Bennett’s recent discussion on “Time Goes By” – ‘The (Non)Public Option.’ She gives a succinct analysis on the bill-castrating “trigger,” also offering a view of what is really going on in Washington. She provides an excellent source link to a web site, Open Secrets, by which we can easily see some of the specific corporate and interest groups efforts to wield congressional influence. Their self-interest views may well take precedence in our legislators issue positions over those actions that would be in each individual citizen’s best interests – including yours and mine.

"Open Secrets" is an excellent credible web site reference, for now and in the future, that tracks the monies our duly elected Congressional persons in House and Senate accept in campaign contributions and provides other factual information. Everyone supporting any political party, also Independents, would be wise to read there exactly where the monies and the legislation come together.

"Follow the money!" in relation to specific issues before Congress. Being an intelligently informed citizen is especially needed now and in the decision-making process regarding whether to re-elect some of our Congresspersons on their next election day.

Presently, the correlation of that site’s data can inform us on such issues as health care reform. We may recognize a need to stress our favorable view for a Public Option to select Congresspersons to offset the weight of their political contributors unfavorable views. Your Representative’s and Senator’s name is easily located there.

What's especially interesting right now are the monies the health insurers and pharmaceutical companies are pouring into our Congresspersons’ campaign coffers.

We can be assured that these health care reform plans coming out of Congress are being tailored to be exactly to the benefit of those companies income and not our own best interests, especially if they eliminate the Public Option.

Once again the American people are being sold down the river. Far too many citizens are allowing themselves to be deceived into believing these companies and interest groups so-called compromises reflect legitimate bargaining. Their actions are part of a show-case design process in which they support, alternately protest, then acquiesce to some weakened plan variation. They are attempting to convincingly mislead the public into believing that they are genuinely seeking a solution to the health care issue instead of sincerely assisting with the development of a viable system that’s needed and best for our nation.

The insurance, pharmaceutical companies and their lobbyists are all about strengthening their monopolistic grip on the American health care purse contents. These companies have enlisted far too many of our Congresspersons who either directly or tacitly cater to them. Our nation's intense need for health care costs to decline will not occur except on a most superficial level, if at all, and costs will continue to rise unless private insurers are challenged with an alternative system giving everyone choices including a Public Option.

I care about the kind of country and government that will exist for each of us, our citizenry and future generations. This is not the time to throw up our hands in discouragement and swear off further advocacy for a Public Option, or to abandon our future voting privilege.

It is time now, and will continue to be time, to let our Congresspersons know our views and that we hold them accountable for their actions based on our informed knowledge.

We now have an unprecedented number of ways to communicate our views quickly and easily. Our taking action is always important during the best of times and the worst.

“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

A truth as important today as when issued by Plato.

“The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment."
Another truth of which we should be mindful from educator Robert M. Hutchins.

This is not to say we must dedicate every waking thought and action to focusing on issues of our day. We want to enjoy life, lead active lives in all respects, but we do need to devote some time to exercising our right and responsibility for living in these United States by participating in the striving democratic system within our republic.

Health care reform is one of the most critical and important issues of our time. Continuing to do our utmost to bring about needed health care changes including a Public Option may be the most crucial action we can take that will directly affect our own lives, significantly impact that of every American and future generations to come -- our legacy.


  1. Again, a wonderful post from you Joared. Of course, I agree wholeheartedly. Please keep up the good work.

    I might add, the trigger seems to be replaced with the right of a State to 'opt out' of the Public Option. Can you name me a single red state (mine included) that will not opt out?

  2. Great post!!!!!! And following the money is a good start on doing what I've long-contended should be done: make lobbyists illegal and make our Congress Critters live on what we pay them. AND make them use the same healthcare and retirement as we ordinary mortals have. Now THAT would get us some seriously good healthcare.

  3. The public option issue has been for sometime very frustrating for me. I do support the public option but live in Arkansas where two of our Democratic politicians have gained the national spotlight for opposing the option – that being Senator Blanch Lincoln and Congressman Mike Ross.

    Arkansas is a conservative state but I have always assumed, perhaps naively so, that all the Democratic Senators and Representatives would support “major legislation” supported by our Democratic President elected under a mandate of “change” in 2008. Senator Lincoln continues to claim that she is doing what she considers best for Arkansans. She is in fact, simply pandering to the State’s conservative base in an effort to assure her re-election next year.

    Today in the State newspaper was a political cartoon showing a group of folks in a line with an on-looker asking if it was the flu shot line? One of the folks in the line answered that it was the line for candidates opposing Senator Lincoln in the next election.

    I am an Independent but if I vote for a Democrat, or Republican for that matter, I have to put some faith in the fact that they will be supporting specific major campaign issues. Here in this conservative State you almost have to come to terms with the fact that if you elect a Democrat or Republican, they tend to vote in a conservative manner negating your vote when supporting issues being pushed by the Democrats. Very frustrating to say the least!

  4. It is wearying, isn't it? The up and downness from Congress. Reminds us once again the tight bubble in which they operate without regard to the real lives of their constituents.

  5. Darlene: I look forward to seeing some of the particulars about this house plan that just emerged today, Thurs. 10/29 -- don't know if "opt out" is still in there, now, or not. I can't keep up with what they're doing.

    Kay: Yeah, I definitely want to see our Congresspersons have the insurance plan they created legislatively, but guess with the private insurers still in the plan their coverage won't change.

    I'm not so sure completely abolishing lobbyists is the answer since knowledgeable informants about the different groups and issues are needed -- but surely so many aren't necessary (couldn't there be restrictions on numbers?) I definitely think campaign finance with all the money these lobbyists, companies and groups contribute is unacceptable. We need to do something about that.

    Alan G.: Sure can see how difficult it is for you to make your issues vote count. The political party names really do seem meaningless much of the time. I vote Independent, too, always have, even though not always registered as such. This way I get a Party's propaganda and can see what they're telling all party-line followers.

    Naomi: You're so correct -- I think they're really out of touch with constituents much of the time and seem to have a vested interest in listening primarily to those, however few or many, who share their point of view.

  6. While we are making things illegal (such as lobbying), why not get rid of insurance all together? What we need is health care - not insurance. About the only way to succeed in this venture is with a single-payer plan; but, can we get one? No. It is discouraging.
    Cop Car

  7. Cop Car: Yeah, I agree eliminating the private insurers would save a lot of money. We could concentrate then on weeding out the Medicare/Medicaid corruption. Those that exploit aren't just in govt. programs as some would suggest, but very present in private entities, too -- as everyone certainly should realize now after what has happened with our financial system (still not corrected,I think.)