Monday, March 22, 2010

My Thoughts on the Passage of the Healthcare Bill

Last Night, the Healthcare Reform Bill passed the House which will be signed into law by President Obama. The reconciliation bill also passed the house & is now in the hands of the senate, which will take it up on tuesday.

All of Georgia's Republican GOP congressmen voted against the measure, while the democratic congressman was split: John Barrow & Jim Marshall voted against the measure, while John Lewis, (who was called a n---r by a unruly protestor), David Scott, Hank Johnson & Sanford Bishop voted in favor of the measure. (More on Bishop later).

Now I am not a supporter of the bill due to its uncertainty & misconceptions of the bill by supporters & opponents of the legislation. Some has called this the end of American as we know it, to America is now a "Socialist" Country, all sorts of accusations to the bill. Some libs compared it to the 1965 Civil Rights Bill passed by LBJ. I won't go that far in that comparison, but it is a monumental piece of legislation that will have far-reaching affects, both positive & negative, in my opinion.

Speaking from someone with a rural point of view, if this bill helps improve healthcare for rural Georgia & rural America as whole, then more power to the bill, but like I said, I'm not in favor of the bill. It could have been done in a more effective, bi-partisan way (although there are over 200 GOP amendments to the legislation), but still something this far-reaching should have included both sides.

My Rural Point of View:

Rural Georgia & America as a whole presents a unique set of challenges for health care reform. Rural Georgians have less access to health networks and health care providers, greater rates of disability and chronic diseases and higher use rates of all public health care programs. And largely as a result of higher rates of self-employment and small business employment, rural folks have lower rates of employer-provided benefits and are more likely to be underinsured or uninsured for longer periods of time. The thousands of people in Rural Georgia & millions in Rural America, are most in need of health care system reform

Rural Georgians & Americans are somewhat older and have lower incomes compared to the rest of the state. This demonstrates greater need in rural communities, and confirms why rural residents – particularly those in remote rural areas – are more dependent on public forms of health insurance and health care & the affordability challenge is even greater for low- and moderate-income individuals and families.

Health care is also a major barrier to rural economic development that creates genuine opportunity and reduces poverty. But if small entrepreneurs cannot gain affordable access to health care for themselves or their employees, that path out of poverty is blocked. Any hope of building genuine economic opportunity for struggling rural Georgians, as well as Americans, through entrepreneurship must be accompanied by reforming the health care system in a way that benefits both small business owners and their employees.

Again, these are my opinions.

I have no idea how this will play out, so I'll take a wait & see approach to this bill. I know staunch critics of the bill says it's a takeover of government, (I thought the public option was the govermnent takeover of healthcare), but Gov't will have a increased role in our healthcare system, I tell you right now. They say it weakens small businesses, we will see about that as well, they say this is marxist, communist, I don't believe none of that off-the-wall nonsense at all.

I applaud Jim Marshall & John Barrow for voting against the bill. These mne wnat to see healthcare reformed in the worst way, just not this way with this bill. Sanford Bishop, well, he will most definitely be targeted by the NRCC for this vote, although it is a strong democratic district, which is 48% African-American.

But he has had strong opposition to his votes for both healthcare bills, as well as the Cap & Trade Bill he voted on last yr as well, mainly from the southern part of the district south of Albany. I will tell any republican right now, Bishop will be extremely hard to beat here, but given the mood of the opposition for this piece of legislation & for congress as a whole, anything is possible.

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