Yesterday the House Ways and Means Committee heard testimony from the head of Medicare and Medicaid, Dr. Berwick.

It began with a series of questioning from a paper he had written in 1996…

1996? Wtf? In it, Dr Berwick described the benefits of the NHS Health Service in Britain. In Gestapo interrogative fashion, Chairman Camp sharply asked if he still believed those thoughts today… “Do you believe the single payer plan is the best plan for health care?” “Did you not say the British Health Service was the ideal form of medical care?” “Did you not wax enthusiasm over this “socialized” medical program?”

To these answers, Dr. Berwick, head of Medicare and Medicaid consistently answered: “each country has their own unique solution to healthcare; our best solution is in the Affordable Health Care Act”.

Fortunately one of the questions asked by Chairman Camp, was incomprehensible… The chamber, spectators, and witness all thought Mr. Camp had suffered a stroke.. Despite the Chairman’s repeated entreaties to answer his question, Dr. Berwick couldn’t. It hadn’t been framed logically. He couldn’t understand it. No one could. Chairman Camp was reading off some incomplete notes, which apparently made sense to him, but, without that aid in front of anyone else, his question was, if politely put, incomprehensible. A page quickly showed up and handed the chairman a sheaf of papers, and Chairman Camp continued: ” your words, you wrote this” and then he mentioned the title, “and it was written by you in 1996….”

1996? You have got to be kidding.. Gee, how long is that? Fifteen years? What even was the beltway’s thought processes at that time. From a medical point of view, we had just come off from the Clinton’s health care debate over reform, one that was squelched by insurance advertising. Dole was campaigning against Clinton, who beat the Republicans rather handily. Back then, I was hauling around the neighborhood children like a soccer mom; now, they’re driving me. This whole idea of tainting people with something said way back in time, with no context involved, is the most stupid of all idiotic attempts to appear smart. It is ridiculous and embarrassing to defame the halls of Congress with it’s tripe. There needs to be a statute of limitations on evidence brought up in Congressional hearings of at least five years, especially if it is being used to damage the credibility of a witness. If anything is over that time frame, the peers of that person need to call him out publicly on his public demonstration of his own stupidity, for even thinking that something said fifteen years ago, even makes an iota of a difference…

So we learned early off, that the Republican debates are not going to be about substance. The rest of the Republican questioning turned out to be nothing more than the repetition of rumors, supposedly told to them by their constituents, all of which were put to rest by the diplomatic Dr. Berwick. So lets define the illogical frame of argument being used by Republicans to overturn all hope for affordable healthcare…. The Republicans send dire predictions out to their constituents about the implications of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Those predictions were hand written by lobbyists for large medical corporations. The citizens then comment on these writings, telling their Congressman if it’s true, then they are afraid of this new Health Care Act, (at functions where only other Republicans are invited), and Republicans bring that back as a mandate to repeal Healthcare…

Another observation: Congress is broken.

Being naive, perhaps I assumed that Congressmen would at least listen to both sides, thereby when voting time came, they could make a balanced decision. What I witnessed was to the contrary. Instead, I saw all the Republican Congressmen walk in, sit down, get called on to speak, ask questions for 4 minutes, then when time had expired, collect their stuff and shuffle down the hall to another meeting…

The House and Ways Committee was practically empty through most of this very important hearing. So how do they vote? Do they read the bills? No! There minds are made up before hand. Nothing said or done within these halls, matters one iota.

Unless of course, America is watching. Then, we need to understand what a menace removing the healthcare act is, and express to each of our representatives, that they too need to understand this, or be unemployed the next term.

Here are the facts.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, seniors who received a $250 dollar check in 2010 to cover prescription costs… will have to pay it back!

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, seniors who would have received a check this year, won’t, and will pay over $500 more for their prescription costs than if Republicans had left the bill alone.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, college students up to 26, who use medical coverage since the bills passage, may have to reimburse that amount back!

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, anyone who got a screening without paying a deductible, could be billed for all amounts charged them had the act never been passed.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, anyone who had a pre-existing medical condition and got treatment under the new law in 2010, may be required to reimburse their provider, if that provider could justify they would not have received coverage under the new law.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, the national deficit will take a $575 billion increase by 2019, because the cuts that were to go into effect, will not.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, everyone’s insurance premiums are estimated to jump 20%, supposedly to cover the private insurers losses this past year.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, considerable numbers of people will not be diagnosed early enough for diabetes, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, or any of the other diseases, where early detection can lead to cheap procedures that prevent far more expensive ones down the road, and whatever happens in 2019… won’t matter to them anyway.

If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, over half our children in public schools, will not see a doctor, they could have easily afforded it were the law to stay intact.

Guess what else I learned?

Despite Republicans saying the Affordable Health Care Act is the worst law ever created…. people are voting for it with their feet.

People signing up for the Medicare Options are up by 6%. Their numbers were predicted to go down by the actuaries.

Costs are down by 5%. They were predicted to go up by the actuaries.

Apparently, at least based on the feet of Americans, the Affordable Health Care Act is working. In trying hard to find some merit in the Republican antagonism for this great piece of legislation. ( Remember Republicans were against Truman’s Healthcare, were against Johnson’s Medicare, Newt Gingrich boasted Medicare would wither on the vine, were against Clinton’s medical reform, for the record, Republicans have always been trying to kill it) the only explanation I could get from any of them, was philosophical: it was government run.

Puts them in this position: “I don’t care if it saves you money, I don’t care if it decreases the deficit, I don’t care if it provide better health care, I don’t care if it drops costs, i don’t care if it saves more lives, ….. it has the government behind it and for that reason alone, it must be repealed…….”

Yep, that about sums up their argument…. (Of course none of them are willing to give up their own Federal Employee Health Insurance, which carries a subsidy paid for by the Federal Government, which is larger than that paid for any Medicare recipient….. )

So what was to be a tour de force, … as to why affordable health care should be abolished, turned into just the opposite. The more we learned, the more it makes sense….

Here’s hoping they have a lot more hearings on the Affordable Health Care Act. 🙂

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