A PROGRESSIVE PERSPECTIVE ON HEALTH CARE REFORM-- OKLAHOMA STATE SENATOR ANDREW RICE ANSWERS THE GOP SMEAR
Doctor Rice and Senator Rice with their new baby
The liberal line is that health insurance costs should not be reduced but increased — especially by making coverage a government monopoly-- and no limit to mandates should be legislated.
Get used to a lot of this. The short explanation: reactionary lies meant to appeal to news consumers too busy to check too closely. This particular bit of propaganda from Big Pharma, HMO's and the politicians they own comes via the preeminent statewide mouthpiece of the far right in Oklahoma, the Oklahoman. It's part of an editorial pushing the insurance company written health care bill (carried by reactionary hack Ron Peterson) and trying to tear down an actual functional health care bill by the Oklahoma legislature's health care expert, state Senator Andrew Rice.
The editorial board of the Oklahoman is unconcerned that the people of Oklahoma, like Americans everywhere, feel that it's past time for guaranteed health care; their concern, as always, is in protecting the interests of Big Business and Big Business' pet politicians. In this case it goes way beyond the pathetic local representative from Broken Arrow. Andrew Rice is challenging Oklahoma's worst corporate hack and biggest reactionary, U.S. Senator James Inhofe. For now, what is happening in states like Oklahoma is even more important than the national debate being waged between Hillary and Obama and between McCain and most of America.
The Republican Establishment in Oklahoma, along with their corporate masters, have their panties all twisted up because Senate Bill 1521, introduced by Senator Rice, which would require insurance companies to continue coverage of routine medical care for critically ill patients who submit to clinical trials. To the far right it sounds like communism. What they're pushing instead is a bill in the House that severely limits mandates on insurance companies, something Rice has pointed out as a "sell out" to special interests and a "'stake in the heart' of people who often are victims of arbitrary insurance policy rules that deny them access to health care."
Blue America has endorsed Andrew with great enthusiasm and we're looking forward to Oklahoma taking it's place once again as a state with members of Congress who fight for the people's interests rather than for corporate interests. Andrew will be joining us for another discussion of health care at Firedoglake this Saturday (1pm Central Time, 2pm Inside the Beltway). He explained his ideas about health care to us this morning after the outrageous editorial in the Oklahoman
"There are two main issues with health care right now-- one is the problem with no coverage. In the system we have now, obviously many Americans cannot afford private insurance. Often there is only a thin line, or a couple thousand dollars' of income difference, between people who get no help from the government, and those who do. It is both a moral imperative and fiscally responsible to provide basic health coverage for all Americans. It is a win-win for our country: people get health care, and we save more money overall. What the far right seems unwilling to accept is that not covering people is the biggest driver of increasing health care costs in this country. The
taxpayers eventually all end up paying for health care anyway, we might as well cover people up front, and save ourselves and small businesses a lot more money on the back end, then ignore the problem and see hospitals bleed money in the red, and see our friends and families declare for bankruptcy.
"The second issue is the one my bill addresses, and what the movie Sicko focuses on. For people who are able to afford private insurance, the coverage they get is often less complete than what Medicaid and Medicare cover. These are people who shell out their hard-earned money to buy a product (health insurance), but the companies they buy the product from often find ways to not make good on their end of the bargain (and of course it is not a bargain). Ironically, in Oklahoma government programs cover clinical trials for cancer treatment, but most private insurers do not. When hard work is not rewarded-- when it can, in fact, leave you riddled with debt because of an insurance company's whim-- something is not right. My bill is addressing this injustice to American consumers and working families."
Andrew Rice, you won't find a better candidate running for the U.S. Senate anywhere. Donate here and please come by and meet him Saturday at Firedoglake.