In my personal effort to wrap my head around the swirling controversy that IS health care reform (or health insurance reform) I have looked at and read many bills, read many news articles online from many diverse sources while pondering long and hard about an issue so important to not only myself, but ALL Americans. I've cheered on The Wyden Plan dubbed the "Healthy Americans Act" both here and elsewhere on other blogs like Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis. Some may recall me mentioning earlier that this could be the REAL reform we're looking for in lieu of H.R. 3200. The official text on Thomas.loc.gov can be found by searching for the Senate (S. 391) also known as S. 391.IS) and House (H.R. 1321, also known as H.R. 1321.IH) bills there. I've even suggested that we resurrect H.R. 676 as a good clean slate from which to foundationally build upon into a powerful and clean health care reform bill.
As a side note, since all searches on Thomas.loc.gov often have an expiration time built in, I link to the ones from the more persistent GovTrack.us. -- otherwise the best way to search on the official government site is to already know the official names of the bills or to search for the bills using the official number. Which is both confusing and maddening at times. Be sure the little button to search for 'Bills' is clicked if searching for specific bill numbers as it defaults to a text search otherwise. Anyhow my solution has been to use the open source GovTrack to find out the official names or numbers then search at the official site. Once you find the correct bill there are also links on the thomas.loc.gov site to printer friendly versions (not wise unless you have tons of paper) and Adobe Acrobat .PDF versions you may save locally to your own hard drive (better idea... read at your leisure, print the parts you want, cut and paste from the documents as needed).
Yes, it's a bit of jumping through hoops to use search engines to track legislation, but it'll save you some ulcers in the long run. Research is always good especially if you're going to use the sharpened sword of intellect by reading through and understanding what your own legislators sometimes say they haven't even bothered to read themselves. Elected representatives who don't take the time to read and learn the legislation they vote on should find themselves a new job because they're obviously not cut out for the task of representing their constituency. You need a summer reading list Mr. President? What's on the top 10 reads for this recess, Senator? Congressman? Your answer had better be health care or health insurance reform or I can almost guarantee there are going to be some pissed off constituents, both Republicans and Democrats alike come election day 2010.
One other option that has been floated by many is to just expand Medicare. I'm almost convinced that ultimately this may be the correct move. Howard Dean makes some very logical and persuasive arguments in this clip from the Rachael Maddow Show (Allison Stewart was filling in) where he also highlights the stupidity of regressives, extremists and obstructionists with their usual "the goverment can't run the health care system but don't touch Medicare" (a government run, single payer health care system) flawed circular logic:
Unless the legislature can come up with an omnibus bill that ties together all the good ideas and ferrets out the bad ones, this may be our best choice. Otherwise we're left with the option of pushing H.R. 3200 through reconciliation (because no matter how many bi-partisan concessions you make to the far right, they are STILL going to vote against it) and the liberal use of President Obama's line item veto pen (to close all the loopholes that favor a corrupt and profit driven private insurance industry) to establish a workable and reasonable bill that is on the side of Americans, not tilted in favor of private insurers and lawyers. Yes they're Americans too, but far too many times lately, they mostly seem motivated by profits rather than the future health and well being of ALL Americans.
I have also, much to the chagrin of some, spoken out against H.R. 3200 or at least that may be the perception of some when I suggest alternatives like the Wyden Plan, but don't kid yourself. Let me assure you beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am working FOR health care and health insurance reform, not against it! If at times I seem somewhat less than thrilled about H.R. 3200 it is my way of speaking out against the graft and corruption exhibited by foot dragging legislators of both sides of the aisle as it relates to them milking campaign donations from the private insurance industry and the many loopholes that have been or will be tacked onto this bill that favor the industry rather than the best interests of ALL of the American people. If we the people do not speak up loudly, forcefully and most of all THOUGHTFULLY to express the need for rational reform NOW we're letting all the astroturfers, teabaggers, birthers, deathers and all the rest of the regressive, extremist and obstructionist crazies win. Thus NOW is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country. Seriously. In a government of, by and for the people, the buck REALLY stops with THE PEOPLE. That would be you and me. The time for us leaving attention to government affairs on autopilot IS OVER. Look what results that got us during the Bush years! As many of our elected officials seem to fall asleep at the wheel they need a good, hard jolting to wake them up be it in the form of letters, emails or phone calls. For our elected representatives to continue to play games with meaningful health care and health insurance reform is to deny us of our inalienable rights. Those of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...". I've said it before and I'll continue to say it until most people get it, working against the inalienable rights and against the best interests of ALL the citizens of the United States of America is simply and unequivocally un-American. There WILL be hell to pay next election cycle if they don't do the right thing and complete the job of reform before 2010. Believe it.
Exercise your right, your sacred duty as a progressive, moderate or centrist American and work hard to fight against the regressives, extremists and obstructionists -- the party of NO. Please do so NOW, before it's too late. Use the tools the internet affords us to counter their crazy shouting and non-solutions. Eventually with enough persistence and patience, we progressives, moderates and centrists will WIN this battle. We'll look back and laugh at their lack of input, their lack of solutions or lack of acting in good faith on behalf of the majority of their constituents and at how they marginalized themselves into obscurity by using their idiotic scare tactics. Oh how we'll laugh! But now is the time for action, for grim determination.