Chain letter: “Wake Up America: Congressional Reform Act of 2012 (throw all the bums out)”. “THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS! If you agree with the above, pass it on”.
This old chestnut of “fixing” the areas of congress that have evolved this way for generations by voting them all out is highly unlikely in a world where only a small fraction of voters come out to address infinitely more important issues.
Congressional issues are moderated by a technocracy in which decision makers are not identifiable, and of course insure there is no binding referendum. In the real world, the potential to change them, especially if it requires voting, is not any better than chance. There are infinitely bigger fish to fry.
Part of the cure: Congress loses its current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
Stripped to its essence, Congress has Medicare with a few additional perks that would be extremely difficult to peel away from the entrenched and entitled. The issue of “health care for the American People” is a serious problem and transcends what congress gets.
It’s difficult to imagine a worse health care provision system than here in the USA, which is why we’re the only country in the global village that indulges it. In the USA, a medical emergency has the potential for ruining a family’s finances permanently. The cost for an uncomplicated Colle Fracture (simple wrist fracture) requiring only an x-ray, cast, follow-up x-ray and removal of cast is over US$2000.00 if the victim has no insurance and has to pay the full freight in cash. It that same individual has insurance, they accept whatever the insurance pays, usually about US$700.00. Go figure. And the availability of affordable heath care insurance is disappearing consistently and progressively, with no relief in sight.
In the United States, the health care system cost $714 billion in 1990 and escalated to $2.3 trillion in 2008. That’s $7,681 per citizen, 16.2% of the gross national product, and the cost is growing at 4.4% per year, with no end in sight. American health care is the most expensive in the world, but the United States ranks poorly in preventable mortality, below Ireland and Portugal. Currently, 46.6 million Americans (15.9%) are not indemnified for the cost of health care, NOT counting the under-insured (those with some insurance but not enough to cover catastrophic loss). The point is to suggest that people who make decisions on the basis of political expediency rather than social need must increasingly make difficult decisions in a different resource allocation milieu, presumably.
Once the political arena is broached, the discussion quickly becomes partisan. Clark’s Law suggests that the further a Presidential figure goes to one end of the right/left political spectrum, the more radical the opposition will become to get rid of him or her. Currently we have a far left President and the opposition has predictably moved further right than they might have otherwise, explaining popular but wholly inappropriate clown acts like Palin, O’Donnell, Angle and their brain damaged associate Bachmann. Accordingly, ANY ideas for reform put forth by a sitting administration will be (and has been) opposed in an open ended fashion, the real benefit to real people not considered.
The Affordable Health Care Act of 2008 for the first time in US history calls for some real reform. As such, it’s a vast improvement over they current system, if for no other reason than it ends insurance discrimination, covers 96% of Americans, improves wellness and preventive medicine and makes health insurance portable. Yes it will be costly. The alternative is to keep paying more for less. If we’re going to pay more, seems like we ought to get more.
The knee jerk political response is that anything coming out of the current administration is fundamentally evil and must be stopped. Well meaning but poorly informed protesters carrying “NO GOVERNMENT MEDICINE” placards at Tea Party rallies. Exactly how evil is “Government Medicine”? Depends on who you ask. A family of five with a stay at home mom caring for kids living on US$50,000 a year and no health insurance is in for a big surprise if the patriarch gets unexpectedly sick, gets hospitalized for two weeks and can’t work. Or ditto the matriarch unable to care for small kids in the home. This hospitalization, especially if it involves looking up and seeing a neurosurgeon, will FINISH any potential for that family to exist by their previous means forever. You will not see anyone in this family at a Tea Bagger rally carrying similar signs. The only such protesters are those that haven’t received the letter informing them their employer can no longer afford health insurance.
This is an infinitely more complex issue than just cutting spending for anything and everything.