Should we all be entitled to basic health care? Insuring all Americans is a noble and worthy goal. Yet, Republican candidates, from Romney to Gingrich to Santorum to Paul, vow to repeal "Obama care" if they reach the White House. I must confess; as a principled American, I don't get it.
My paralegal claims to be an independent. Yet, I overheard a conversation she was having with someone on her mobile phone. During the conversation, she indicated "I hate Obama". This is a woman who recently lost her mother to Cancer, waged her own battle with Breast Cancer (so far, she is winning), and now has a sister who is facing surgery for the dreaded "Big C". My paralegal and her mother had health insurance; her sister does not. So, how is it that the sister can have surgery despite the fact that she has no insurance? You guessed it! Obama care!
Just as Mitt Romney would have let Detroit and Michigan fail (Santorum said the same thing; they are lockstep on this issue), all of the Republican candidates would let my paralegal's sister die. And, I guess that, despite this, my paralegal would vote for one of them instead of President Obama because she "hates" him.
This confounds me. I am totally befuddled by the inherent conflict between political preference and common sense. This is America! This is the land of the free and the home of the brave! This is the country where we have each other's backs! Other countries, Cuba and Canada are the closest, have universal health insurance; can we truly say that we live in the "greatest country in the world", if we aren't, at least, able to provide a basic level of health care protection equal to Cuba? Would my paralegal, like the Republican candidates, prefer her sister's death without treatment to the benefits and surgery she received because of Obama care? What is wrong with this picture?!
In today's USA Today, the newspaper published the results of a survey about Americans' ability to pay medical expenses. The survey, conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, found that 1 in 5 families are struggling with medical debt. A family that is struggling with medical debt cannot save money in the banks that Republicans love; they can not start small businesses that Republicans love; they cannot spend money and boost the economy that the Republicans claim to be better at managing. The staggering cost of privatized health care is hurting the economy. Obama care covers the sick and assists in preventative medicine that keeps the healthy, healthy. If we are healthy and working, isn't that better for the economy? If you are among the 20% struggling with health care costs, you are clearly an Obama supporter, correct? Obviously, he has your back.
So, what is the Republican answer? Repeal that law (Obama care) that reduces a citizen's health care burden; let those who can afford healthcare have it and those who can't "fail" (get sick? die?). Oh, they have one other solution that big tobacco, big pharma, big insurance, and the US Chamber of Commerce love: "Let's cap recoveries of damages in lawsuits". They have never explained how this so-called "solution" is related to the cost of health care, but, hey, big tobacco, pharma, insurance and the US Chamber are heavy contributors to Republican candidates; what is good for these industries is good for Republicans. Their candidates motto should be: "Whatever big corporations say is good for the country is good for the country". Or, as Romney argued: "Corporations are people, too".
The only link that I have ever heard between lawsuits and healthcare is the fabricated one about so-called "defensive medicine". The argument goes that doctors perform "unnecessary tests" because they fear malpractice lawsuits. The performance of these unnecessary tests increases the cost of health care, don't you know? Do you buy this argument or do you see the total absurdity of it, as I do? How can the fear of a malpractice lawsuit make the "unnecessary", "necessary"? If a test is not necessary, it is not malpractice if you don't perform it. Doctors don't get sued for not performing unnecessary tests, they get sued for the serious consequences (and only if the consequences are serious) resulting from not performing necessary medical and diagnostic tests. Perfectly logical, isn't it?
What these "tort reform" candidates really want is to provide a bailout for guilty corporations, doctors and insurance companies with victims and you, the taxpayer, picking up the tab. Is that a Republican value? The 7th Amendment guarantees the right to jury trial in civil cases. I thought Republicans were strict constitutionalists; do we get to pick and choose which constitutional provisions we will be governed by?
If you are struggling financially, if you have substantial health care burdens, the Republican party has nothing to offer you. Those of you on the so-called "religious right" seem to embrace the Republican party because of its positions on contraceptives and abortion and other "religious" issues. But, remember, this is America, and in America we value freedom. That should mean freedom to worship or not, believe or not, practice birth control or not. No one is telling you how to live or practice your beliefs; should you be telling others? And, if you are a religious person, doesn't the Bible teach us to do onto others as we would do onto ourselves? If we have the means, aren't we supposed to use them to help those less fortunate than ourselves? That is what Obama care, at its core, does; isn't that a biblical objective?
Making contraceptives available and affordable prevents unwanted conception; preventing unwanted conception prevents abortion. Isn't that a religious or moral objective? Other than their absurdly poor (and conflicting) positions on freedoms and religion, do these Republican candidates offer anything of value to anyone making less than, say, $100,000 per year? The answer is "No, absolutely not"! So, before you embrace the Republican "repeal Obama care" rhetoric, consider the cost to those citizens less fortunate than yourselves. Consider the cost of health care to the economy, in general. Consider your own religious and social values. Consider basic pocketbook issues (especially if you make less than $100,000 per year). Our "United" States are becoming "Divided" States. By rethinking our values and rededicating ourselves to those handed down by our forefathers, we can, once again, recapture the promise of America.
Mark M. Bello is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation where he is instrumental in providing cash flow solutions and consulting when necessity of life lawsuit funding is needed during litigation. Mr. Bello has thirty-four years experience as a trial lawyer and 13 years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the litigation funding industry. He is recognized as an expert in this field by ExpertPages.com and ALM Experts. Mr. Bello is a sustaining and Justice PAC member of the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association, Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Member of the American and Michigan Bar Associations, Member of Public Justice and Public Citizen, Member of InjuryBoard, out-of-state member of the Mississippi Association for Justice and a business associate of the Florida Justice Association, Texas Trial Lawyers Association and the Consumer Attorneys of California. His articles have appeared in FindLaw, The West Reporter, The Safety Report, Plaintiff Magazine, Advocate Magazine, and other fine legal publications.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.