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US Healthcare Insurance and Pro-life Ideology

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The 2012 October surprises came in spurts. The biggest October surprise was hurricane or tropical storm Sandy essentially leveled parts of water fronts in several NJ towns. The devastation brought together President Obama and Republican Governor Chris Christy into a bipartisan alliance to help people in the devastated areas. Other surprises included a private political meeting video made in September 2012 went viral in October and it showed Romney explaining his strategy to get elected and views on a variety of issue to potential donors. The Romney labeled 47% Americans as moochers and takers. A couple of Tea Party candidates for senate used voodoo science to classify rape. Some other candidates used religious beliefs to justify the pro-life stance and opposition to reproductive health care rights for women.

Mitt Romney appeared clueless as he remarked about some ambiguous group that makes up 47% of the electorate.* Like many conservatives and extreme conservative Republicans he alleged 47%ers don’t pay income taxes. He continued the 47%ers feel like victims and entitled to health care. He added every 47%er feels s/he is entitled for a job and a house. Romney stated he plans to ignore 47%ers as they were unlikely to vote for him. The Republican and extreme conservative Tea Party establishments support a social engineering agenda that is consistent with the Romney-Ryan views to deny access to affordable healthcare insurance to all and to teach self-reliance to the moochers and takers.

Two popular US government managed healthcare insurance programs are Medicaid and Medicare*. The two programs are strengthened in the affordable healthcare insurance act of 2009, also called the Obama care. The Obama care empowers government with negotiating power to keep in check if not lower healthcare costs. Many super rich or 1%ers and the medical-industrial complex resent the power of federal government to control costs and hence they are supporting candidates opposing the Obama care.

There are 49+ million elders and disabled enrolled in the Medicare program* and the number is growing as baby boomers continue to enroll. As a Medicare participant in an HMO Advantage plan for more than a decade I have experienced a steady decrease in costs of prescription drugs. I recently (January 2012) had a knee surgery and experienced how hospitals at HoustonTexas Medical Center bill patients. I have documented my post-op care experiences along with some research on the US health care costs. The US health care costs at about 17% of GDP are highest in world. In some European nations with programs comparable to the Obama care the health care costs are much lower, about 5% to 9% of the GDP*.

As the effects of the Great Recession (2007 – 09) persist, Medicaid continues to play a crucial role in providing coverage for low-income individuals as unemployment remains high and income has fallen for many Americans. While enrollment continued to grow reaching 52.6 million by June 2011, enrollment growth in the program slowed as the economy started to improve*. During economic downturns, demand for Medicaid coverage increases, particularly for families and children. Since June 2007, just before the start of the Recession, an additional 10 million people have enrolled in Medicaid programs across the country, over half of whom were children.

Most Medicaid beneficiaries are relatively young and relatively poor. Most elder people are covered by Medicare. The eligibility for Medicaid, unlike Medicare, is determined by need. More than nine million Americans benefit from both Medicare and Medicaid. Elderly or disabled beneficiaries account for the majority of Medicaid’s costs. The great majority of Medicaid beneficiaries are in working families, the 47% moochers and takers identified by Mr Romney. For those who get coverage through the program, Medicaid is a much-needed form of financial aid. It is also, quite literally, a lifesaver.

Medicaid is significantly better at controlling costs than the rest of the US health care system. According to the best available estimates, the average cost of health care for adult Medicaid recipients is about 20 percent less than it would be if they had private insurance. The gap for children is even larger and the gap has been widening over time. Medicaid costs have consistently risen a bit less rapidly than Medicare costs, and much less rapidly than premiums on private insurance. The lowering of costs is possible for two reasons: the government’s administrative costs are lower than private insurers’ and Medicaid is much more effective at bargaining with the medical-industrial complex.

Republicans are determined to erase the affordable healthcare act partly because it helps the 47% Americans they consider moochers and takers and who needs to be taught self-reliance. Medicaid’s success is a reproach to Republicans’ and Tea Party antigovernment ideology.

Conservatives exploit religious beliefs to further their political ideology driven social engineering agenda. Every religion teaches life is a gift of God. Biological scientists have demonstrated successful fertilization of human eggs with human sperms in test tubes. If life starts at conception then are biological scientists gods? Pro-lifers ignore the test tube science.

The Pro-life conservatives* and Christians (Catholics, evangelicals, etc) believe that life starts at conception or fertilization of egg in womb. As a political issue it is at the center of conservative social engineering agenda. The inconvenient political realities for pro-lifers include pregnancies due to rape and granting of reproductive rights to women.

Rape resulting in unwanted pregnancies and denial of tools for family planning and birth control can be burdens on health of expectant mother. Pro-lifers argue that life is gift of God and women should be legally denied affordable choices to manage personal healthcare. The want-to-be-elected Tea Party politicians and Republican contenders for seats in the Congress and the President and Vice-President ships are offering unscientific borderline crazy science explanations to support the pro-life beliefs on rape and denial of reproductive rights to women.

Common sense requires that respect for life has to include respect for how that life is lived, enhanced and protected — not only at the moment of conception but afterward, in the course of that life. Pro-lifers argue that the respect for the sanctity of life means legislators should pass laws to protect every fertilized egg in a woman’s ovary, no matter how that egg got fertilized. . A pro-lifer want-to-be senator subscribes to voodoo science and declared that women’s body can distinguish a “legitimate” rape. He concluded that if an alleged rape results in pregnancy then she as a consenting participant was not raped.

Pro-lifers are against enacting sensible gun control legislation. They argue the government has no business to protect every living person from being shot with a concealed automatic weapon. For example, they opposed sensible gun control legislations like banning public access to the kind of semi-automatic assault rifle, designed for warfare that was used recently in a Colorado theater.

Politicians subscribing to the voodoo science also claim that the global warming is just a hoax. They ignore conclusions drawn by the 99% of all climate scientists that climate change poses a danger to the sanctity of all life on the planet. Some are arguing that increased hurricane activities are a consequence of ongoing climate changes. The estimates are up to $50 billion property loss and more than 50 deaths by hurricane Sandy on the east coast (October 29-31, 2012).

Pro-lifers are for shutting down the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), which ensures life sustaining clean air and clean water. They also support shutting down FEMA and handing over these functions to States and to private businesses. Those who are listening to Governors of NJ, NY, Long Island, Connecticut, West Virginia and many more eastern states that suffered devastating damages due to hurricane Sandy have first hand experience of the value of FEMA program.

President George Bush (2001 – 08) believed in down sizing FEMA and handing over its functions to private businesses. Louisiana State suffered extensive damages due to hurricane Katrina (2005) and under President Bush the FEMA program was mismanaged causing untold miseries to affected people.

Politically the pro-lifers are “pro-conception-to-birth and indifferent-to-life conservatives”. They pickets Planned Parenthood and lob by against common-sense gun laws. As pro-lifers they oppose programs like Head Start that provide basic education, health and nutrition for the most disadvantaged children.

Religious right needs get the head out of sand and acknowledge that granting reproductive rights to women is a common-sense political strategy.

References:

  1. A Teacher’s View, http://a-teachers-view.blogspot.com/2012/09/is-it-about-47-ers-or-1-ers.html
  2. Paul Krugman, “Medicaid on the Ballot”  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/29/opinion/krugman-medicaid-on-the-ballot.html
  3. “Total Number of Medicare Beneficiaries, 2012” http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=290&cat=6
  1. Kishan Bhatia, “Knee surgery and Improving the Post Op Care” 0702 2012; A personal case history Jan 18 – March 9, 2012; results of follow up blood tests in June 2012 by Dr Vu  are also added. (3,307 words; Revised and expanded with latest PTINR data, etc). Unpublished and available from author upon request.
  2. Thomas Friedman, “Why I Am Pro-Life?” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/opinion/sunday/friedman-why-i-am-pro-life.html
  3. “Hurricane Katrina – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; National  Climatic Data      Center,” http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/special-reports/katrina.html
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