What is the official name and House bill number of ObamaCare/Health Care Reform?
What does the bill mean? What will is do for the American People?
What about claim this will lead to nationalized Health Care, Rationed Health Care? Can a government panel over-ride a Doctor's diagnosis and treatment plan?
Have you read the whole bill? If no, why are you voting for it?
I was asked to put these questions to my congressman as part of an experiment in civics. The idea was that we as constituents would learn something about the health care reform being proposed as well as something about our representatives and the nature of this great representative republic in which we live. My congressman is Representative Richard E Neal, at-large whip for the House Democrats. That being the case, I was expecting a song-and-dance routine about the wonderful world to be if we would only all just get behind the President's proposed reforms to Health Care.
Was I wrong? You judge first and I'll give my opinion at the end:
Richard E. Neal
WASHINGTON: (202) 225-5601 (202) 225-8112
Rayburn House Office Building • Washington, DC 20515
MILFORD: (508) 634-8198 (508) 634-8398
2 Congress Street • Milford, MA 01757
SPRINGFIELD: (413) 785-0325 (413) 747-0604
State Street, Suite 200 • Springfield, MA 01105
According to my representative's office, the official name and house bill bumber is HR3200 and it is something like American Health Reform but neither of the two people I spoke with could remember exactly. The first person I spoke to was very nice but was mainly just someone who answered the phone for the Congressman. She passed me off to Jeanne, who was the "go-to" person for the Congressmen on the Health Care question. Jeanne said she didn't remember the exact name either and cautioned me that there were three versions in the House and at least one version in the Senate, so some of the answers she gave might be more or less accurate depending upon which version of the bill gets passed.
Will HR3200 lead to rationed or nationalized health care? She said categorically no. I pressed further and she said it wouldn't be like a government-run insurance company; it would be something completely different. I asked if there would be encouragement for young people to use their government sponsored heath insurance or consequences if they didn't and she said that she thought so, but it depended upon which version.
When asked, both said that they believe Representative Neal had read the full bill in its entirety since he likes reading and doesn't like to vote on something he hasn't read.
During the course of the conversation I didn't ask directly what it would mean for the American people but I did ask about dental and vision coverage. Jeanne said that she thinks there is some dental coverage but no vision. I pressed about the frivolous lawsuits that have so affected the medical industry and and she said there might be a rider regarding frivolous lawsuits, again dental coverage and lawsuit provisions were dependant upon which version of the bill.
My overall impression: this is pretty much what I expected from a Democrat
congressman's office in regards to questions about the health care reform.
A lot of platitudes and feel-good statements combined with some off-color
remarks regarding the opposition. Not a whole lot of real information but
just enough to make everything sound on the up-and-up. I don't believe for
a minute that Representative Neal has read the entirety of HR3200 and I
don't think either woman I spoke with really believed it either; they were
saying what they were told to say. At one point in the conversation, Jeanne
mentioned hearing something at one of the town hall meetings 'between the
yelling and shouting'. It is amazing to me that they are discounting the
opposition out of hand; when they go somewhere to field questions and pound
the stump for this health care plan that all polls indicate most citizens
do not support they discount the vocal opposition as being organized by
their political opponents. I felt that they just do not believe that the
majority of people are really all that passionate.
Honestly who can blame them? What have we the citizens done to give them any reason to expect anything other than passive acceptance except from those highly motivated people on the opposite end of the political spectrum? I live in Massachusetts and a state doesn't get any more blue than us. I have my doubts that anything will change here. This dismissive nature and scoffing attitude of our representatives will not result in any changes come the next voting season, not here in Kennedy country.
I hope it does, but if the past year of politics has taught me anything its that the audacity of hope is dead and that hoping for change is as empty as a politician's smile.
More In This Series
"Call Your Congressman About ObamaCare?" Eric 'Renderking' Fisk tried to find answers by contacting his congressman about "ObamaCare" or "Health Care Reform," and uncovers a much larger or disturbing problem - an unrepresented constituency.
"HR 3200 Call To Congressman Pallone," Doug Palumbo shares with us his call to his congressman about HR 3200, the "ObamaCare" health bill.