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Bush's lack of vision on health care

From their email newsletter.
February 6, 2006

Profile of a lack of vision: Bush addresses health care in the State of the Union

"As a nurse, I am appalled at President Bush's lack of vision in resolving our nation's health care crisis. Simply providing tax breaks to those who can already afford health care will make the problem worse. We need common-sense solutions that reduce costs and increase access to comprehensive health care services." Judy Lebens, Hillsboro.

Joe Mahoney and the Oregon Action Health Care committee joined together to watch the President deliver his fifth State of the Union address. Prior to the speech, aides said it would focus on health care. So the group waited, hoping to hear a plan to reduce the cost of health care and increase access. They hoped the President would announce plans to fix the troubled Medicare Prescription Drug plan. Instead, after 46 minutes they heard less than a minute on health care.

Retired mental health provider, John Estelle of Salem wasn't surprised by what he heard, "What else should we expect from the people who brought us the Medicare Prescription Drug fiasco? This is just more of the same - protecting the profits of wealthy corporations over the needs of working families struggling to afford the basics like preventive care and dental services."

At a time when 60% of Americans disapprove of his work on health care, Bush still isn't proposing anything more than a repackaging of his Social Security reforms. While providing more tax breaks for wealthy Americans he will leave the lowest-income and chronically ill patients to wither away.

"I work full-time, but my employer does not offer health insurance. My husband has chronic health conditions which have left us with over $100,000 in medical bills we can't afford to pay," explained Cheryl Smith of Portland. "The President's plan won't help us. If we had money to put in a savings account it would be going to pay for the health care we need right now."

The Health Savings Accounts do nothing to reduce the cost of health care - it simply shifts more of the costs to working families who can't afford it. Research shows people with health savings accounts pay more out-of-pocket for less quality care.

Bush lacks vision and has completely abdicated of his responsibility to address the health care crisis. His assertion that we are meeting our responsibility to provide health care for the poor and elderly is a complete fabrication (see story below)- has he not heard of the 85,000 low-income Oregonians kicked off the Oregon Health Plan or the millions of elderly Americans who cannot get their prescriptions under his new drug plan.

That is why it is important for all of us to hold candidates and elected leaders accountable for enacting common-sense solutions to reduce health care costs and increase access to health care.

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Federal Health Care Cuts Enacted

Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved the budget reconciliation bill by an extremely close vote of 216-214. The legislation now goes to the President for his signature. Despite this heartbreaking loss, we want to thank all of you for your hard work fighting the budget cuts all year. Your calls and e-mails were crucial. We were successful in encouraging every Oregon Member of Congress to oppose the bill, except Representative Greg Walden.

As we have shared this budget cuts health care, child support enforcement and student aid, among other things. 13 million low-income Americans will see new or increased co-pays for medical care or prescription drugs. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that about 4.5 million children will face cost-sharing for the first time.

The final impact to low-income Oregonians remains to be seen. Many of the most harmful cuts in the reconciliation bill are at the discretion of the states, making it even more crucial we elect a pro-
affordable health care majority in the legislature to implement the new legislation in 2007.

In an Oregonian article, state officials expressed concern over the direction of cuts and program changes. "It puts us in a tough situation," said Dr. Bruce Goldberg, director of the Oregon Department of Human Services. "We've built a budget based on a set of assumptions, and now they're changing the rules midstream." (Oregonian, 2/3/06) They also expressed concern over a new provision requiring everyone who applies for aid to submit either a passport or birth certificate. This will create an administrative barrier to receiving care, particularly for homeless or severely mentally ill clients.

While we lost this battle, another one is on the horizon. Today the President is expected to announce his budget for the next fiscal year. The close nature of the votes on these budget cuts will make it more difficult to make additional cuts in vital human service programs- but only if we remain vigilant in opposing such draconian actions. Thanks for all your help!

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Weekly Dose

In a vote of 52-45, the Senate failed to garner the 60 votes necessary to extend the deadline for enrollment in the Medicare Prescription Plan from May 15 to December 31.

Senator Wyden supported the amendment.

Senator Smith voted no.

homepage: homepage: http://www.oregoniansforhealthsecurity.org/


Cuts? 06.Feb.2006 22:48

JE

Let's be clear. What the author has termed "cuts" are not cutsto previous budget amounts, but rather reductions in the rate of spending growth. There is a difference, but cuts make the action sound much more draconian.

JE

JE 07.Feb.2006 00:20

George Bender

"Reductions in the rate of spending growth" will have the same effect as cuts. Medicaid, Medicare and the other safety net programs HAVE to grow, partly because our economy is rigged to create more and more poor people. It doesn't have to be that way. We could raise the minimum wage to a living wage, and make it possible again to organize private sector unions. Instead we have a national, although usually unspoken, policy of cheap labor. Ralph Nader said that a third of the workers in this country make less than $10 per hour.

When you pay people less than what it takes for them to survive or to support a family, and don't provide them with health insurance, you make them dependent on government safety net programs, especially after they retire and their incomes, typically, are cut in half. As long as the U.S. population keeps growing and we keep wages low, there will be more poor people for government programs to take care of.

And then there's inflation, which is out of control in the medical field, and no one is doing anything about it. So that drives up the cost of Medicare and Medicaid.

Think of the system as a giant balloon. You step on it (cut) in one place, it pops up in another. But Americans don't want to see that, because they can't stand to look at reality. Our whole political system is based on illusion.


health care cuts 10.Feb.2006 05:12

karl roenfanz ( rosey ) k_rosey48@hotmail.com

another reflection of the cuts in benifits of the cut on the veterans. first they try it on the vets then if noone screams they transfer to the elderly and disabled. reganomics? and the corps get breaks meanwhile lets undermine the taxes they do bother to rob from the poor, do we have a monarchy? king george the third thinks so, he and the corporate owners co-opreate to force the poorer to be poor and keep the rich in the fancy sedan chairs ( hummers?)

Bad title 11.Feb.2006 04:41

methinks

No, I think Bush has plenty of vision for health care, I just donīt think it is something any of us want.

The "Vision Thing" 12.Feb.2006 12:24

Comandante Gringo

Like the previous commenter was getting at, Bush II has plenty of "the Vision Thing". Same as his arch-criminal Old Man and all their oiligarch cronies. It's just that they are members of our enemy class -- the Rich -- and their "vision" is one in which we are all slaves to them. Or dead.

A hypocritical commenter above talked about being accurate with what the Bush regime is actually doing here. The main point this person missed -- purposely or otherwise -- is that this is a _Low Intensity Conflict_ model being waged here, internally, against the U.S. working-class -- instead of externally, against some brown-skinned alien Other, which masses of U.S. suburbanites have been conditioned to care less about than the factory-farm meat animals they consume directly.

Do not expect the least mercy from these people: they only move slowly and
indirectly so as to DISTRACT you, as they pick us off in dribs and drabs...

healthcare in great britain..... 16.Feb.2006 03:02

anneke

I have been reading about healthcare, or the lack of it, in the u.s.a. It has always been obvious to me that britain licks the boot of bush and when it comes to healthcare this is ever more apparent. More han 70% of britains now do not have access to dentistry or adequate healthcare. People are encouraged to take out insurance, but of course the average person cannot afford such and is left with second rate medicine and emergency detaltreatment. Only last week a woman suffering from breastcancer was turnd down for tratment that could save her life because it was deemed too expensive! However, the national health quite happily spend 70.000 on a big stone from peru, to grace the garden of it,s inner precinct. I wonder.........