BY KENNY BELFORD
There are a number of progressive organizations that are advocating a form of punishment for Democrat members of Congress and the Senate that are indicating they will support the Republicans in blocking and attempting to defeat health care reform.
I support that plan of action – so should you.
Health care reform is long overdue and has reached a critical level challenging our country. The heath care insurance companies have not been good stewards of the public’s trust. They even enjoy protection from anti-trust laws allowing them to commit acts that would otherwise be violations of the law. Only one other institution has that protection, major league baseball.
Health care insurance companies have been free to deny coverage, at their discretion, because of pre-existing conditions. They’ve delayed and denied treatment for their customers solely to enhance their profit margins.
Many of their top executives are rewarded with compensation exceeding $1 million a month, while at the same time premium rates have escalated to new record highs.
They’re absolutely not going to correct the system shortcomings on their own. They’ve had decades to do so, and haven’t. It’s going to take federal legislation to change the system. There’s no other option.
Almost 50 million Americans have no health insurance, and beyond being shameful, that drives up the cost for all of us that currently have health insurance, as unpaid medical treatments are spread across the board to the rest of us.
The largest single reason for personal bankruptcy in America is medical bills. Nothing else is even close. It’s going to take federal legislation to change that. There’s no other option.
Every other nation on the planet whose citizens wear shoes has government organized health care for their citizens. Only one doesn’t, and that’s us. Not once, not one single time, has any nation ever attempted, much less changed back to a system like ours. Never!
Providing affordable health care for all Americans has been a core issue of the Democrat Party for well over half a century. Time and time again the issue has been brought up, and major push-back by the Republicans has stalled it. This time, every one of the Democrat candidates seeking the presidency supported and pledged to pass this legislation. They only sparred and debated over the “how to” part, but were unanimous in making this a top issue of their platform.
When Barack Obama secured the nomination he campaigned on this issue. Americans elected him partially on his strong commitment to this issue. Americans rejected the Republicans and delivered Congress and the Senate to the Democrats, with an expectation that this central issue, affecting every citizen, would be addressed and fixed.
At this time in history we’re poised to finally make it happen, but some Democrats are indicating they will align themselves with the Republicans and attempt to defeat the measure. That cannot and must not go unchallenged. This is the time for Democrats to act like Democrats, and support a core issue of their party.
Those that chose to put other priorities, such as campaign contributions from health insurance lobbyists, ahead of their party and country should be informed now that there will be consequences.
For starters, any elected Democrat that chooses this path should be informed that they will lose any leadership roles, or chairmanships of committees. That won’t be a temporary condition, but one that will prevail as long as they’re in office.
The leadership of the Democratic Party should inform them that there will be no party campaign funds made available to them, now and as long they seek public office.
This is a defining moment for our nation, as well as our party, and any individuals that work to defeat this measure must be held accountable.
– Kenny Belford lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer