Thursday, October 09, 2008

Another Reason To Vote For Charlie Brown-- Tom McClintock Is A Pre-Existing Condition Dangerous To A Healthy Society


Charlie and Jan Brown

When I left my job as a divisional president at TimeWarner it wasn't exactly the same as just leaving any other job. I wasn't especially eager to hold on to any ties with the corporation and I was looking forward to move on with my life. Except in one area: healthcare. You've probably read about how great the health insurance is for members of Congress, right? The health insurance for corporate CEOs is at least as good. And, like many Americans of my age-- most?-- a pre-existing condition would make it very difficult for me to get decent and affordable health insurance outside of TimeWarner's system. So I stayed on, gratefully. But that isn't an option anyone below president gets. After a few months, you're on your own.

If you've been a reader of any of the Blue America blogs, you probably know we first endorsed Charlie Brown in 2006. When we've talked about why we're so enthusiastic about his race we've tended to talk more about the Iraq war and the extremism and corrupt practices of incumbent, John Doolittle, than about healthcare. But the federal charges against Doolittle and his wife, both of whom are likely to spend at least some years in prison, have made it impossible for Doolittle to run for re-election and he's passed his baton on to another right-wing extremist, carpetbagger Tom McClintock, who is also the candidate of the KKK.

McClintock doesn't talk about health care issues in his campaign. And how could he? He's received hundreds of thousands of dollars in "contributions" from Big Pharma and the insurance industry, has repeatedly voted against legislation aimed at prevention of disease and improving healthcare services to California women, children and seniors in the state legislature, and this year he authored legislation that would deny the legitimate health claims of millions of insured Californians. His record is an example of someone devoted to the special interests that fund him, not to the voters who have elected him to office. he's been against improving access to healthcare for low income children and their families (AB 1126, 9/12/97), against routine coverage for children with cancer (AB 591, 5/25/99), against requiring insurers to cover checkups and vaccinations for children (AB 424, 6/3/85), against requiring insurers to cover annual cervical cancer tests for women (CA Senate Vote 9/12/01), and against prescription drug coverage for seniors (AB 757, 6/4/99). And, yes, he even voted against giving patients the right to select their own doctors (AB 1124, 6/4/99); not what most voters are looking for in a new congressman.

What caught my attention, however, was a bill McClinton wrote and introduced this year, SB 1669. Actually, he gets credit for writing it but it was obviously written by the insurance company lobbyists who have helped fund his political career. Had McClintock's bill passed it would have accomplished a dream insurance companies aspire to-- making it easier to deny the health claims on the basis of pre-existing conditions. One of the reasons they love McClintock and SB 1669 was because it would have extended the period that insurers could look back in your medical history from 12 months to... 10 years. That's Republican healthcare and that's what Tom Clintock is all about. Recent polling shows Charlie ahead of McClintock in this overwhelmingly Republican district (PVI- R+11). So how do they differ on healthcare?

Charlie, unlike McClintock, is a signatory to the Children’s Defense Council’s Pledge to fight for healthcare reform that ensures access to affordable healthcare coverage for every child and every pregnant woman in America. Over a million California children have no health insurance of any kind and the impact reverberates across society. Any teacher will tell you that healthy children perform far better in school and studies will tell you that one dollar spent on healthcare for children saves up to $16 in future healthcare costs. Charlie:
“Rising healthcare costs are hurting families and businesses across America. If we want to address the drain of growing healthcare costs on our economy and our family budgets, we have to focus on prevention. And we can do that by ensuring all children and pregnant women have access to affordable coverage which includes comprehensive benefits... Tom McClintock gets free healthcare, a free car, free gas, and tax free per diems he’s not entitled to, yet has voted to restrict the ability of Californians to see a doctor of their choice and fought against helping our most vulnerable citizens access meaningful healthcare coverage. His record of inaction has not only helped drive up the cost of healthcare for every Californian, it’s illustrative of a career politician hypocrite who would rather serve himself, than solve problems.”

Does that sum it up for you? It's a reflection of the basic difference in healthcare perspectives between Obama and McCain-- as well as between American working families and the insurance industry. But unless you or someone you love has come up against the solid wall called "pre-existing condition," you may not understand the danger of right wing ideologues like Tom McClintock determining healthcare policy for our country. Charlie Brown does understand. “Tom McClintock’s idea of healthcare reform is writing a law that says if you have a medical problem, you can’t get healthcare coverage,” Brown said. “This misguided bill could have literally cost millions of Californians who have battled and overcome ailments ranging from diabetes, to mild cardiac conditions or cancer their lives."
If you'd like to contribute to Charlie's campaign-- believe me, insurance companies will be giving all their donations to someone else-- he's on the Blue America ActBlue page. And, rest assured, there's no one on that page who agrees with Tom McClintock's views on healthcare. Nor, apprently, do the United Auto Workers. This ad isn't running in California, so CA-04 voters won't see it-- but they should:

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