I’m really getting sick of hearing the word “bungled” associated with health reform. The Democrats haven’t “bungled” reform—the Republicans have stone-walled it every step of the way, from the day Obama entered the White House. Apparently that’s good and effective politics, since it’s succeeded in making a lot of Americans cynical about the whole process and snide about Washington—a situation that never bodes well for incumbents.
In spite of giving lip service to the need for health reform, every blessed one of the Republican House and Senate members have refused to cooperate on any part of a health reform package—and that’s after 12 years of ignoring the whole issue while they were in the majority. Now, a year into the new administration, I hope they’re proud of what they’ve accomplished—or not accomplished, depending on how you look at it.
Conservative estimates are that about 45,000 people die each year from lack of access to health care—in other words, they can’t afford it. We know that a large percentage of personal bankruptcies—some say as many as 60%—result from debts due to lack of adequate and affordable health insurance. If projections of bankruptcies filed during 2009 are anywhere near accurate, that means that the 100% failure of the Senate Republicans to negotiate in good faith about health reform is at least partly responsible for 840,000 economic tragedies for families and small businesses.
That’s over 1,000 deaths of individuals and 21,000 bankruptcies per Senate Republican (and Joe Lieberman, whatever he is these days—I can’t keep track). In all fairness, it has to be said that some of the lily-livered “Conserva-Dems” from conservative districts have to share some of the blame for dithering and hiding behind the backs of the more out-and-out, true “conservatives” (or, as I suggested yesterday, “reactionaries”). So maybe not every Senate Republican can be blamed for 1,000 deaths and 21,000 bankruptcies.
But how many is enough?
Come on, people. Let’s just get this damn thing done.