BY SHARON MARTIN
The same people who brought us a trillion-dollar war in the Middle East are now all about cutting the deficit. They say that the American people cannot afford health care reform. Well, a good many of us can’t afford health care, either.
A friend of mine worked for years at a job she didn’t like because she had a kidney removed. With her pre-existing condition, she couldn’t change jobs. Many low-wage workers can’t afford to work for fear of losing state aid for their children. Neither of these situations is good for the economy.
All of Oklahoma’s representatives voted to repeal health care reform. They have good government insurance. They cite the deficit as an excuse for their vote. Where was that argument when we declared war on Iraq? And what about the savings in the reform bill, the provision to cut subsidies to insurance companies who offer privatized Medicare at a higher price to the taxpayer? Those companies helped pay their campaign bills.
Opponents say reform will cost jobs. What if auto makers and manufacturers in the United States were freed of the terrible expense of employee health benefits? How many jobs could Chrysler and General Motors have saved?
Reform helps small businesses, too. Currently, small companies receive a 35% tax credit when they provide employee health insurance. That will increase to 50% of insurance costs in 2014. With repeal, how many small business jobs would be lost?
Scientists followed a generation of children born during the great hunger in the Netherlands during World War II. This 60-year study verified what many have long known: those who start out with poor nutrition and poor health care need many more services and are less productive for a lifetime. Access to quality, affordable healthcare and proper nutrition is a moral issue, but it makes economic sense, too. Most Americans understand this.
In a recent poll, about 80% of taxpayers said they agreed with some provisions of health care reform. Eighty percent. That sounds pretty filibuster-proof to me.
Political showboating aside, reform makes sense, and contrary to what the naysayers say, most Americans agree.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer