Wednesday, March 24, 2010

LoBiondo and the benefits of health care reform he opposes

Frank LoBiondo has whole-heartedly opposed the Democrats' health care efforts and his final statement after his no vote is clear:

U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today issued the following statement prior to voting NO on the healthcare reform bill:

“Today’s vote is historic in that it is a missed opportunity to truly reign in health insurance costs, increase quality of care, and really improve the healthcare system for countless Americans.

“President Obama and the Congress could have and should have crafted bipartisan solutions to make healthcare more affordable and more accessible for everyone. We could have and should have already enacted common-sense policies such as allowing insurance to be bought across state lines, repealing the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies, medical malpractice reform, and removing restrictions on coverage for those with preexisting conditions. The Democrat leadership made the calculated decision against this approach and thus, we have now arrived at this severely-flawed healthcare bill before us today...

Yes, I love the use of the bold, ALL-CAPS, underlined "NO" too. I do wish Republicans just say they want to mostly deregulate health care insurance -- when you think about it, that what's "bought across state lines" is intended to lead to. It would be nice to be honest about it, but I guess it is about as popular when you phrase it thta was as "privatizing Social Security." I also wanted to comment that "removing restrictions on those with preexisting conditions" has the drawback, according to most economists, that many people won't buy insurance until after they get a big sickness. That leads to the collapse of the system as only sick, expensive people buy insurance, and that is why Obama supported the individual mandate to buy insurance even though like LoBiondo he knows it is better politics to condemn it.

The opposite view of LoBiondo is that this reform will help millions of people get the health care they need, and reform many of the worst practices of the insurance industry. An Analysis of health care reform's effects on LoBiondo's NJ2 district reveals:

  • Improve coverage for 447,000 residents with health insurance.
  • Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 150,000 families and 15,900 small businesses to help them afford coverage.
  • Improve Medicare for 113,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole.
  • Extend coverage to 30,000 uninsured residents.
  • Guarantee that 9,200 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
  • Protect 1,600 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
  • Allow 49,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans.
  • Provide millions of dollars in new funding for 37 community health centers.
  • Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $47 million annually.

That is a lot to be proud of, even if LoBiondo says NO and tells us instead to deregulate to whatever South Dakota wants.